Works and Days

Saturday Academy: Hadley McCammon, Winter Shadow 2016

In my first email conversation with Dr. Jeri Janowsky, my winter shadow sponsor, she sent me an article explaining how the education gap between high socioeconomic status (SES) children and low SES children grows in the summer time but stays constant during the school year (Beth M. Miller, 2007). The article explained that this phenomenon is largely a due to the fact that high SES students usually have the opportunity to enroll in enriching summer camps, while low SES students do not.

Saturday Academy aims to bridge this gap by offering classes on Saturdays and over the summer to students of all income levels. This January, I had the opportunity to work for Saturday Academy in Portland for two weeks. I was struck by the non-profit's dedication to a single mission: to level the playing field for all students. As a result, I learned the importance of having a strong mission for non-profits. During a staff meeting I attended while at Saturday Academy, Jeri continuously pushed her staff to share any news they had on their projects, but more importantly, to make sure they understood how everything they were doing fit into the overall mission of Saturday Academy.

Over the course of the two weeks I spent working and learning at Saturday Academy, I also learned how non-profits function successfully. The role of the non-profit is to collect, organize, and distribute the resources of the community in order to accomplish a specific goal. In the case of Saturday Academy, bettering the education of the community’s children. Saturday Academy collects grants and the expertise of community members who instruct their classes, organizes them and provides them with guidance, and then distributes them to the community by way of classes.

Another valuable piece of knowledge I gained from this winter shadow is the importance of networking. What I had previously thought to be schmoozing turned out to be an essential part of everyone’s professional career. Jeri and other members of the staff were all able to share stories of how making connections early on ended up benefitting them and their careers. Additionally, Jeri was able to help me start networking by putting me in touch with professionals in my areas of academic interest.

Lastly, this opportunity provided me with a lot of motivation for the semester to come. The chance to see how the hard work of a Reedie led to an impressive career helped me realize the importance of the work I am doing now. I am very grateful to Saturday Academy, and to Jeri in particular, for this opportunity, as well as the Center for Life Beyond Reed for coordinating it.



Tags: winter shadow, externship, nonprofit, education, equality, equality gap, ses, socioeconomics