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Please enjoy these graduation videos from our 2016 commencement ceremony at Washington Corrections Center for Women.

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It’s been 40 years since Lenore attended high school and 23 years since she attempted community college. Her success in the FEPPS program is an inspiration to her peers, especially those new to the program, and we were thrilled she agreed to give the Student Address at commencement on behalf of the class of 2016. Lenore is interested in writing and hopes to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology or English.

“I believe higher education renders possibilities for incarcerated individuals. Having achieved my associates degree I’m reminded every day that I am a person with a purpose. Sharing my success with other people gives them hope. My peers have seen the pictures in the school and congratulate me and want to know what to do to get an education. The women who have signed up for FEPPS, or who are in the trade school classes, tell me where they are in math, english, etc. and ask me for help. I like it when they come back with an A or B on their papers and a big smile on their face. I am proud and so are they! I feel good about my accomplishment so far with higher education. It has given me focus on where and what I can achieve and gives me hope for a future.”

-Lenore, Graduating Class of 2016

Alyssa enrolled in FEPPS first college courses and is a founding member of FEPPS Education Advisory Council. She works with dogs in the Prison Pet Partnership program at WCCW, is interested in Biology and Gender Studies and continues to work towards her Bachelor’s Degree.

“I feel so much pride and confidence knowing that I not only completed my A.A., but that I was one of the contributors who built this program that allows women to achieve something that will change their lives. I have gained so much confidence and awareness of who I am as a result of the challenges I’ve encountered in these classes! Our professors, by expecting greatness of us as students, as people and not just as inmates, allow us to expand our expectations of ourselves. To have achieved my associates degree feels like the beginning of a long journey.”

-Alyssa, Graduating Class of 2016

Seth Weinberger is Associate Professor of Politics and Government at the University of Puget Sound and has taught for FEPPS since 2012. He received his B.A. (1993) in political philosophy from the University of Chicago, an M.A. (1995) in Security Studies from Georgetown University, and an M.A. (2000) and Ph.D. (2005) in political science from Duke University. He teaches courses on international relations, U.S. foreign policy, international security, terrorism, constitutional law, and political philosophy. His book, Restoring the Balance: War Powers in an Age of Terror was published by Praeger Press in 2009. His recently published articles include “Enemies Among Us: The Targeted Killing of American Members of al Qaeda and the Need for Congressional Leadership” in the Georgetown Global Security Studies Review (Spring 2013) and “Institutional Signals: The Political Dimension of International Competition Law Harmonization” (with Geoffrey A. Manne) in The Anti-Trust Bulletin (57, no. 3). His current research focuses on congressional-executive war powers in the on-going armed conflict against al Qaeda. In 2011, Professor Weinberger received the Thomas A. Davis Teaching Excellence Award. We were thrilled that Dr. Weinberger agreed to give the Faculty Address at our 2016 commencement and are glad that you can watch it here!

Angela Russell is an American television journalist, who has reported and anchored news in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and most recently Seattle. She Co-anchored KIRO-TV’s evening news broadcasts with Steve Raible for 6 years, where her work expanded into worldwide issues. In 2010, she was one of the first wave of reporters in Haiti after the earthquake, where she followed the rescue and recovery effort as well as the local response and impact. Her follow up questions during a 2011 interview with President Obama led to a response that made national headlines. A few years later, when the Affordable Care Act became law, Angela hosted a live town hall on the subject and filed reports for a half hour special on the issue.

Angela is most proud of her work on a documentary called “Five Weeks That Changed my Life” It followed the lives of several woman enrolled in a program designed to help them become self-sufficient. Through education, support, and ultimately, a job; the women not only changed their lives, but the trajectory of their children’s lives as well.

When Angela isn’t out in the community speaking to young people or hosting fundraisers, she is proud to call her herself a soccer mom and then some to her two daughters and a hamster named Magic.

You can learn more about Angela on her website.