Education student receives achievement award from YWCA Kalamazoo

Contact: Chris Hybels

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Whitney Lewis, elementary education student, was honored by the YWCA Kalamazoo for her volunteer work and service to the community on May 18. She was one of six recipients who received the Young Women of Achievement Award at the YWCA Kalamazoo's 2023 Women of Achievement Event. The event celebrates women who have devoted themselves to social justice and system change within their communities.    

"It's humbling to be honored and recognized for the hard work that I put in as a student, but also the work that I put in for the betterment of the community and helping my future students. It is a motivator to continue working hard, giving back and helping out," says Lewis.

"Whitney Lewis is an outstanding student and we are very lucky that she chose to transfer to WMU. She has a wonderful career in front of her in teacher education," says Dr. Kristal Ehrhardt, interim dean of WMU's College of Education and Human Development.

Lewis was nominated because of her academic record and the work she has done at Kalamazoo Public Schools (KPS) as a restorative practice facilitator (RPF) through her job at Gryphon Place. After she fulfills her responsibilities as a RPF, she also spends time as a volunteer in KPS.

"I've been a volunteer classroom assistant, a tutor in the middle and elementary schools," says Lewis. "At Wood Lakes, I was a volunteer group facilitator for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day events, so I had a group of 30 volunteers and we took students and did projects through out the school."

According to Lewis, the volunteer work she is doing is all in preparation to become a better educator. She also views it as an opportunity to give back to her community and help students that could be sitting in her own classroom in the not too far future. 

"My goal is to be a middle school math teacher and I want to continue educating myself. I want to get my masters in education," says Lewis. "And I do want to stay in the community and I do want to stay in Kalamazoo."

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