Student Body Vice President and WES Funding Recipient
Workforce student Ruth Krizan is always willing to share her personal story and describe how Workforce Education funding has helped her.
“I wouldn’t be here without Workforce,” she said. “For years I’d been dreaming about going back to school.”
Krizan worked in administration for several years at a sporting goods company in Chicago, then moved to Seattle in 2011. She was laid off from her front desk position at a local medical center in June 2013.
She’d wanted for years to move up into management, she said, but was stymied by her lack of a higher education degree.
As a single mom of two boys, she couldn’t afford to take time off and pay tuition and other school expenses. The boys were just four and six years old, respectively, when she divorced.
“I thought: ‘Do I want to sit at this desk forever?’” Krizan said.
Krizan started her AAS in Business at Highline in fall 2013. In addition to Workforce funding, federal financial aid has helped pay her way.
At first, she focused solely on her studies, but before long, got the chance to earn a new kind of leadership experience.
In February 2014, she was leading cheers at Highline’s Seahawks rally when her enthusiasm caught the attention of Jonathan Brown, Associate Dean for the Center for Leadership & Service (CLS).
“He said, ‘I like your spirit. We like to see that spirit here at CLS,’” Krizan said.
A few months later Krizan ran for and won the office of Associated Students of Highline College vice president. In that role, she works with other student body members to make decisions on activity funding and school policy.
As vice president, Krizan attends many of the school’s events and urges other students to join clubs or CLS. She’s also active in the Student Legislative Action Committee (SLAC).
“In class I’ll see someone who’s really interested in politics and say, ‘Come to SLAC,’” she said. “I find it really exciting to get involved on campus and make a difference in my community — represent a voice that isn’t heard.”
When Krizan finishes her degree this spring, she hopes to start her own business or land a job in management. She wants to bring her personal experience to the business world.
“People without a degree have potential,” she said. “I want to represent the things I learned, tap into (employees’) potential — no matter where they’re from or what they look like.”
Thanks to writer Sarah Koenig and Highline’s Workforce Education office for sharing Ruth’s story.