UW Dream Project

January 15, 2013

Amrita’s Story: AmeriCorps Member and Expert on Undocumented Students

During my sophomore year at the UW, I realized that my passion was in the education realm. When this occurred, I shouted it from the rooftops; every person I knew and met from that point on knew that I was going to do something related to educating others. That ranged from teaching to tutoring…to mentoring. Continuing with my Business Administration major and having very few education-related classes, I had to get my dose in other manners. I started out at the Pipeline Program at the UW and fell in love with the 3rd graders but something was missing. I then joined UW Leaders and had the time of my life, but despite how much I love that program, something was still missing. After pointless reasons for not joining the Dream Project, a friend convinced me to join with her Autumn Quarter of my senior year. I still remember a very casual conversation as she asked if I received her text about being available Thursday mornings for visits to Federal Way. My schedule was open, why not? WHY NOT? After experiencing so many incredible opportunities, meaningful relationships and countless moments of happiness, I can’t believe my work with the Dream Project started with “why not”.

Call it luck or just the perfect situation but I was in a mentor group with Dustin Dacuan and we had a wonderful group of about 8 or so students at Federal Way. Dustin made me feel like the best mentor in the world and helped me fall in love with this program. I decided one visit wasn’t enough and joined Renton High School as well in the Winter. Either my passion was evident or I’m really good at telling enough people how involved I want to be, because I was asked to be one of the event leads for Spring BBQ. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I helped put on a very pricey event where an incredible amount of high school students showed up to learn about college. This was without a doubt one of my biggest accomplishments in college. Throughout this event process, Matt Harris mentioned AmeriCorps a few times to me. It sounded wonderful and honestly, I had no idea what I was doing after college. Plus, how could I pass up being in this program with these amazing people for one more year?

So here I am. Alongside Yen, I am one of your AmeriCorps Retention Project Coordinators and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Being in the DPC and being able to work with all of you absolutely wonderful mentors makes my life perfect. On top of that, I get to work on a project that is very near and dear to my heart, HB1079 support. You can see what this means on our website under Undocumented Students, but my project is help make the Dream Project more resourceful for this particular group of students. During my time last year, I met an amazing high school student who changed my life. An incredibly intelligent and diligent senior who dreamed of going to college at the UW thought that it was impossible because she is undocumented. Despite too many frustrating and upsetting moments, her hard work and passion won. She is now a student here with half of her first year paid off. While that is nowhere near enough and she struggles every day to stay where she is, her efforts keep me going. If I can play any part in making her or any other student’s path to higher education a little easier, I’ll do what I can. There is a lot more to do with my project but you will hear more about it very soon.

Describing my Dream Project experience in one blog post is an incredibly difficult task. There’s so much more to say, so if you have any questions or interests in my major/minors, event experience, juggling multiple visits, HB 1079 work or my time as an AmeriCorps member, please stop by MGH 274 or email me at heera@uw.edu. I’m not a fan of talking about myself but I love talking about the opportunities I’ve been given. Coffee is on me if you’re interested.