People of SU

Alumnus Gives Back in New Role at Seattle Prep

Written by Allison Nitch

August 12, 2020

Seth Chism standing in graduation cap and gown in front of Seattle U signage.

Image credit: @chismphotography

Recent Albers School of Business and Economics grad Seth Chism, ’20, is preparing to step into a new role as a volunteer instructor at Seattle Prep, his high school alma mater.

Through its Alumni Service Corps (ASC) program, Chism is poised for a new challenge that includes teaching Algebra, AP Computer Science and German II. He’ll also work directly with Seattle Nativity School (SNS) students, assist cross country and track & field teams and oversee future school retreats.

“It will be interesting to return to the place I left four years ago. … I’m very excited for the opportunity,” he says.

The experience will be especially unique, as Chism will be working with students during a pandemic. As Seattle Prep plans to go with a hybrid model, alternating in-person teaching and virtual learning, part of Chism’s role will be to do temperature checks along with his Seattle Prep teacher colleagues.

When teaching remotely, Chism says he’ll be wearing a camera device that “provides a 360-degree-view of the room I’m in, to provide an experience of an actual classroom. So wherever I am, the camera follows,” he says. All students will be connected through tablets.

In high school, Chism worked as a math and reading tutor for SNS students in grades 6–8. While attending Seattle U, he continued his work as a tutor.

“It was the first time I taught kids and I learned how to best explain things for them to understand,” Chism says. “They also helped me understand by sharing what they needed from me as a tutor.”

Returning to Seattle Prep means he’ll be able to work with some of the very same students he tutored years ago. “Working with SNS students again is huge for me because some are now seniors at Prep. … As a tutor, it was awesome being able to see them grow, become their own person and do their own thing. It will be nice to spend another year with them before sending them off one last time.”

As he prepares for his new role, Chism looks forward to providing support and guidance to students as they face the range of academic, emotional and social challenges that come with adolescence.

He’s looking forward to being able to offer advice from an empathetic lens, such as “‘this was hard for me, too, but you’ll be fine … work hard and do the best that you can ... stop comparing yourself to every single person at school all the time.’ I enjoy being a good example for kids and helping them out in any way I can.”

“Especially now,” he continues. “A lot of stuff is getting cancelled and they don’t have activities to do, so it’s going to be weighing on them.”

After transferring to Seattle U as a junior, Chism quickly set out with a renewed focus on his future. “Seattle U helped me grow as an individual and learn to give myself and others permission to fail,” he says. “That was huge moving forward, because it was something I struggled with before.”

Following completion of his year with Alumni Service Corps, Chism says he wants “to ultimately work where I’m giving back and helping the community. That’s really important to me.”