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Partners in Education Volunteer Spotlight: Katy Stover

Through internship opportunity, enthusiastic UCSB student gets an early start on teaching career

[Noozhawk’s note: One in a series on Santa Barbara Partners in Education volunteers. This article is sponsored by Verizon, a Partners in Education President’s Council member.]

University students are tomorrow’s leaders in training, and student volunteers such as Katy Stover give us much hope for a great future. Stover is in her fourth year at UCSB as a double major in communications and psychology. She started her journey with Santa Barbara Partners in Education as an intern in the summer of 2011 after hearing about the organization through word of mouth.

“I had been looking for an internship related to education and working with Partners in Education sounded like a great opportunity,” Stover said.

      |  Partners in Education President’s Council Series |  Complete Series Index  |

“Wanting to find out more, I called Michelle Magnusson, Partners in Education program manager, and she invited me to a Career Education Committee meeting, during which Partners leads educators and business people in efforts such as creating the paid Job Readiness Training & Internship Program for high school students.

“Just from walking into that room (where the meeting was held) and seeing how many diverse people care about education in the community is an amazing thing,” she continued. “The fact that there are regular community members out there invested in our youths’ success sends a good message to others, like myself, to get involved. It is so easy to do.”

Katy Stover
Katy Stover

As diverse as the Career Education Committee is, you won’t often see many college students making the early morning meetings. Most people in attendance have some direct role in education, whether as an educator, parent, or as a Partners in Education board member. Stover made an impression on the group through her desire to become more informed on local efforts without gaining something in return. It was an indication of her genuine interest and passion for education.

Soon after the meeting, she secured an internship as a volunteer recruiter, helping Partners in Education’s AmeriCorps members find new college-age volunteers. She has since reached out to hundreds of undergrads.

Watching her make presentations to UCSB students it is clear that her own personal experience with Partners in Education is the perfect selling point to get fellow students to volunteer and serve.

Getting involved in the community isn’t something new to Stover. She has been active in her local community since childhood in Los Angeles.

“I grew up in downtown L.A., so I’ve always been surrounded by populations that were less fortunate, homeless, disadvantaged — and it was my parents who instilled community service in me,” she said. “My dad ran a clothing factory, and every Christmas he organized clothing donation drives. Early on, I experienced the power of giving back and laid my own foundations for what I am doing today.”

Stover’s passions and career aspirations were inspired by her volunteer activities. She recently was accepted to the highly competitive Teach for America program and attributes her success in part to her internship with Partners in Education.

“I don’t have a doubt in my mind that my experience with Partners in Education helped me stand out among the other applicants,” she said.

Stover went on to discuss the importance of paying it forward, because someone else certainly already did it for her.

“There are so many professionals out there today who wouldn’t be where they are now if they didn’t have a mentor or tutor who helped them to get there,” she said. “I think many realize that and choose to do the same for our youth today.”

Spoken like a true educator, Stover emphasized that it’s important to believe in each young person and that, when you work with one student, it’s more than that one kid you’re affecting.

“Investing in education is investing in the future of America — it’s important to realize that each and every kid can play a role in the success of the future of our country,” she said. “By volunteering, we can help close the achievement gap, thus giving the students who struggle the best chance to succeed.

“A lot of times, low-performing kids can be put on the back burner and the focus is put on the ones who are doing well. But they can be just as great as the other kids. It’s a domino effect — if you can help one kid, you’re improving that school, and that school serves as a model for another school to do well, then the whole district is affected positively. Consequently, the whole community benefits.”

Stover added that success is a group effort.

“Everyone should be involved in education and their community — the students can benefit greatly from the resources the businesses have to offer,” she said. “Through Career Days, guest speakers, the Internship Program for high school students, mentors, tutors and more, Partners in Education lets Santa Barbara students know the entire community is behind them.”

Verizon is a member of the Partners in Education President’s Council, a group of local businesses, organizations and individuals who support Partners in Education with contributions of at least $2,500. Any company or organization has the opportunity to participate in Partners in Education, but the President’s Council is limited to no more than 30.

» Click here for more information on Santa Barbara Partners in Education.

» Click here for more information on how to become a President’s Council member or contact Michelle Magnusson, development and membership director, at 805.964.4710 x4417 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

» Click here for a related article from Partners in Education board president Lynda Nahra.

» Connect with Partners in Education on Facebook.

      |  Partners in Education President’s Council Series |  Complete Series Index  |

— David Lee is an AmeriCorps volunteer who has been working as a Santa Barbara Partners in Education volunteer coordinator. Both AmeriCorps and Partners in Education are programs of the Santa Barbara County Education Office.

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