Evening & Weekend Studies

Winter 2011 Stories

EWS Launching Pad for Innovative Alumni

By Ami Sandoval-Orzel

Mike Fekete and Valerie Adrian Image
Mike Fekete and Valerie Adrian

Old and young, with varying degrees of life experience, Evening and Weekend Studies alumni had their dreams seeded and nourished at Evergreen and are now cultivated and harvesting the results.

EWS alumni include an organic farmer, cartoon animator, medical doctor and organic chemist. Some are in graduate school to become teachers, sociologists and medical anthropologists. Regardless of their field, EWS alumni credit their Evergreen degrees as the launching pad for their dreams. Such a versatile education comes with a variety of options for people to fit school into their busy schedules and balance work and family responsibilities.

Mike Fekete was inspired at a young age to become a teacher. Eight years after graduating high school, he found Evergreen. “I was attracted by the interdisciplinary programs and the student-centered nature of the school,” says Fekete, 30, a graduate student in Evergreen’s Master in Teaching program. “Evening and Weekend Studies was a benefit because they offered choices that full-time programs didn’t.” EWS offers classes that meet prerequisites for graduate school, as well as opportunities to gain knowledge about a career before making a commitment. The program Towards Becoming a Teacher, taught by Evergreen faculty member Lester Krupp, “allowed me to become familiar with the realities of teaching from the perspective of a veteran teacher,” Fekete explains, “while giving me the classroom observation hours needed to apply to Evergreen’s Master in Teaching program.” After he graduates he will be fulfilling his dream to “make a positive impact on my community through the children in the classroom.”

Jenny Epstein, age 53, is in the third year of her master’s program in medical anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis. “I initially went back to school to get a master’s of public health,” says Epstein, who earned a master’s degree in pharmacy. “Then I decided that I’d end up in the same type job I left.”

While an EWS undergraduate student, Epstein worked full time as a pharmacist, taking only a few credits per quarter. One memorable faculty was Doug Schuler, who teaches computer skills and public information access. “His program got me thinking again and I realized how static my job had become,”Epstein says.

Epstein’s EWS days altered her goals for the future, inspiring her down the path of “critiquing biomedical procedure and looking at ways the body is conceived,” she says. Rather than looking at medicine solely through the lens of treating the body’s symptoms, medical anthropology will allow Epstein to look into the social and cultural background that causes medical issues. This year she plans to start her field work with the Puyallup Tribal Clinic.

Valerie Adrian graduated from Evergreen this past spring with a focus in sociology, and has managed to do so while juggling three kids and a husband who is also a full-time student. While she took both full- and part-time programs, Evening and Weekend Studies was useful because “I was able to tailor the classes to fit my needs a bit better, and take some disparate subjects I needed to learn,” says Adrian, 39, adding that faculty member Al Josephy in his statistics course made the complex subject “incredibly accessible.” Adrian begins her graduate work in sociology this year at Washington State University, after which she will go into either teaching or policy research.

Whether attending graduate programs at Evergreen or across the country, EWS provides an ideal place for returning adult students to start making their dreams come true.

Ami Sandoval-Orzel ‘10 focused on philosophy and religious studies.