Real world solutions outside the classroom

Real world solutions outside the classroom

Published: February 24, 2015

“Go long or go home.” It’s a mantra that transfer student Salina Shugarts brings to the golf course and her education. An avid golfer, Shugarts finishes in the low 80’s on the golf course, and she swings high for her education at UW Bothell.

Shugarts is brand new to UW Bothell having transferred here in January. “UW Bothell is known for its academic success,” she explains. “Getting an education is important, but I wanted to challenge myself into getting the best education.”

The Society, Ethics and Human Behavior student is indeed challenging herself. She is eager to talk about her community psychology and education and society courses, which embed community-based learning and research (CBLR). Shugarts volunteers with Healthy Start, offered through the Center of Human Services and devoted to providing education and support to young families. She also tutors children in underserved communities.

Through her CBLR work, Shugarts focuses on barriers to success with one family in order to bridge the gap between individual and community resources that may be available. The combined classroom and volunteer experience allow her to create real world solutions through a new lens. “I’m learning how to collaborate and generate new ideas to better serve the kids and the women we help.”

The reciprocal partnership structure of CBLR means that Shugarts is both a resource to and student of the community. She says her work reflects what she’s learning in class, “We talk about community organizing and community research and qualitative/quantitative data, what that looks like, and how to apply different methods to different situations.”

UW Bothell’s CBLR classes help connect students to the community. Interim director Kara Adams says “We believe the very best form of education will engage students in the processes of learning about issues of public concern and gaining the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to address them.” Last year, 1,214 undergraduate students participated in CBLR courses at UW Bothell.

With more than 90 percent of UW Bothell’s alumni living and working in the state of Washington, it is no surprise that Shugarts’ site supervisor is an alumna and former CBLR student. Holly Teran graduated with a community psychology degree in 2014 and is now a family support specialist at Healthy Start.

Image of Salina Shugarts