Degrees of Change June 2018 Update

104 New Act Six Scholars Named

This spring Degrees of Change, in partnership with our Northwest and Midwest community affiliates, celebrated the selection of 104 emerging urban and community leaders across Portland, Spokane, Tacoma-Seattle, Yakima, Chicago, Indianapolis and Minneapolis-St. Paul. These students will receive full-need, full-tuition scholarships from our partner colleges and they have each already been in training for two months building community, developing leadership skills, and preparing to serve and lead on their college campuses starting this fall. Learn more at

Ready to Rise Builds Momentum

This past fall Ready to Rise sent our first set of 57 scholars to seven different four- and two-year public college campuses across Washington State. This year with lessons learned from our first year, we are in the final weeks of our recruitment and selection process. We are excited to share with you that we have over 150 students committed to being part of our second cohort of Ready to Rise scholars from the greater Tacoma, Vancouver and Yakima communities. These students will start the training phase of Ready to Rise with a two-day, one-night community retreat in late June.

Tacoma Students Ask, ‘What’s Next?’ The Answer, ‘College!’

Degrees of Change, in partnership with Tacoma Public Schools, Graduate Tacoma, UW Tacoma, and Tacoma Community College, put on the first ever What’s Next: Design Your Future. This one-day event rallied 75 Tacoma Public School seniors who plan to attend Tacoma Community College or University of Washington Tacoma. The students were welcomed by Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards and leaders from TCC and UWT. What’s Next showed students that the community has their back as they go to college and will support them on their journey to a college education, while sharing with students both college-based and community-based resources to support them in their journey to and through college. As a result, 96% of students reported they are more confident about their ability to succeed in college; 94% better understand the specific supports available to them at college; and 91% feel more connected to other students who will be attending college with them.

Thank You! Spring Fundraisers Bring New Partners

This spring Degrees of Change hosted two fundraisers, a luncheon at the Columbia Tower Club in Seattle and a happy hour gathering at the University of Washington Tacoma. We are grateful for the generosity of each donor present. Together these events raised over $70,000 with nearly 200 individuals making first-time gifts. Together we are preparing diverse, homegrown leaders to succeed in college and use their degrees to build more vibrant and equitable communities.

Advocacy in Action

Degrees of Change has been active in higher education advocacy efforts related to the federal government’s efforts to overturn DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and to restrict colleges from sharing FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) data with all third-party organizations, even after students and families sign information-sharing releases.

In December 2017, we contributed to and signed the DACA Amicus Brief that was filed in March 2018 (see pp. 15-16) on behalf of religious organizations in support of the plaintiffs in State of NY v. Trump and Batalla Vidal v. Duke.

In March 2018, we added our voice to the advocacy efforts led by NCAN (National College Access Network) to justify the need to exchange FAFSA data with third-party organizations for students who have signed release forms. After technical changes were made in the omnibus bill to address these concerns, DoC’s Director of Research and Evaluation, Kelly Bay-Meyer, was interviewed by Inside Higher Ed to discuss the implications of the omnibus bill language for community-based organizations.

News & Updates

Important Dates

August 3-5: The annual Act Six Convention this year will be held in Spokane, Washington bringing together nearly 200 current scholars from the Northwest to be inspired, learn from one another and alumni, and develop as campus and community leaders. Learn more at

Office Move: Degrees of Change has changed offices and now calls 1102 Commerce Street, Suite 400, Tacoma, WA 98402 home. Our PO Box mailing address remains unchanged. The new office brings us great in-house meeting and training space for our scholars and partners, as well as more office space for our growing staff team. Please come and visit us!

Leadership in Action

Photo Credit: Jake Parrish, Yakima Herald-Republic

Javier Morin and Marcus Morales, Act Six Alums from Heritage University in the Yakima Valley pictured above, are local entrepreneurs who recently started their own commercial cleaning business. Learn more in a recent story in the Yakima Herald.

Andrea Picardal, a Ready to Rise Scholar at Yakima Valley College, was recently elected student government vice president in her second year at Yakima Valley College.

Michael Anderson, Gonzaga Cadre 3 Act Six Alum, was recently named 2017’s BEST Teacher in Western Washington by KING 5 News.

Timofey Abramov, a Ready to Rise Scholar at UW Tacoma, has started his own investment group, and is a strong leader in his church and the Russian community.

Both this past school year and next, Act Six scholars will serve as student government presidents on four partner college campuses, bringing the total number of Act Six presidents to 17.

Augustine Ajuogu, an Act Six alum from Northwest University, became our first medical doctor, earning an MD from the University of Washington School of Medicine this spring. In a recent interview Augustine shared, “I imagine a world free from the threat of infectious diseases.” Augustine immigrated with his family from Nigeria to the United States in 2007.

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