SU Doctoral Student Leads Urban League Scholars
Amber Jenkins, above left, discusses Urban League Scholars with Garfield student Dominique Henley.
Social justice is what drives Amber Jenkins.
It’s what drew her to Seattle University to complete her master’s degree in teacher education, then motivated her to enter SU’s educational leadership doctoral program and educational administration certificate program.
Social justice is also what steers Jenkins as program coordinator of Urban League Scholars, which provides integrated support for African and African American students at Seattle’s Garfield and Cleveland High Schools. In December, Jenkins won the Spirit Award from the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle for growing the successful program from 43 to more than 170 students in three years’ time.
Rachael Steward, associate director of SU's Center for Service and Community Engagement, says the university's partnership with Urban League Scholars is part of a for post-secondary education: academic support and advocacy; college readiness; life and leadership; and family and community involvement.
At Garfield, Jenkins oversees a program of 142 students. At Cleveland, where the program launched last fall, 32 juniors and seniors participate. Even if naïve, she says, they have to be motivated to say they want to go on to higher education or have a plan for life after high school.
For someone who thought she wanted to be a high school English teacher, Jenkins has found a niche that suits her well. "I always felt limited, as though I wasn't informing life," she says. "Now I have opportunities to provide holistic life guidance and build young people to be confident and have access to learning after high school."
To date, 100 percent of the program's seniors have graduated and have been admitted to a post-secondary institution and 96 percent stay enrolled.