2020 Schwab Alumni Grant recipients empowering their communities

July 1, 2020 — Two Grinnell College alumni will pay tribute to a community-minded classmate while implementing outreach projects for youth and families in Iowa and Oklahoma.

Kristin Stuchis ’98 and Josh Waddell ’97 are the 2020 recipients of the Lori Ann Schwab ’95 Alumni Grants. They each received $1,650 stipends.

Schwab was committed to making the world a better place by helping others. Her life was cut short by a sudden illness while she was studying in London in 1994.

The grant provides stipends to support specific community service projects that recipients are significantly involved with. It is open to alumni from the classes of 1992 through 1998, the years that overlapped with Schwab’s time at Grinnell.

Kristin Stuchis ’98
    Kristin Stuchis ’98

Stuchis has worked as a heritage Spanish instructor for Marshalltown High School the past two years. About 60 percent of the school’s population is Latinx.

The funds received from the Schwab grant will be used to establish a Heritage Spanish Resource Center (HSRC) that engages, inspires, and empowers students who grew up with the Spanish language. This set of resources featuring Latinx authors will contain Spanish books for a wide range of reading ability, from an elementary level to AP Spanish.

“The HSRC is especially important at this moment in time because often students see themselves portrayed in popular culture negatively,” Stuchis says. “Many students grow up without reading stories written from the Latinx perspective. This library will empower and engage students through stories that resonate more closely with their life experience told from a voice that is not often captured in mainstream literature.” In addition to becoming better readers, the HSRC will create awareness of the diversity of Latinx voices and experiences while validating students’ own stories. Stuchis observed the power of deep connection with a book when she collaborated with the local library’s book club to get 15 copies of Enrique’s Journey in Spanish. Some students said this was their story or the story of their parents; one even said it was the first time she had read a book that was about her life.

Kristin Stuchis '98 with several Latinx students sitting on top of a Iowa State University sign during a campus visit.
Kristin Stuchis ’98 on the campus of Iowa State Univeristy with a group of her Latinx students.

“The center will be essential to a process of creating personal narratives for future generations of students and will eventually feature work published by peers,” Stuchis says. “Ultimately, just as Grinnell College did for me, these resources will broaden their perspective, help students realize that they have important stories to tell, and to discover that through writing they have the power to make the world a better place.” Another organization striving to make the world a better place is The Ray of Hope Advocacy Center, a social service agency in northeast Oklahoma that provides crucial support, resources and advocacy to adult and child survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and abuse.

Waddell, a school counselor for Bartlesville Public Schools, is a liaison between the school district and Ray of Hope. He also has served as a Ray of Hope executive board member, which he describes as a truly humbling experience.

Josh Waddell ’97
    Josh Waddell ’97

“The impact that Ray of Hope continues to make and support for the survivors of domestic violence is truly remarkable,” Waddell says. “The dedicated staff has gone above and beyond with very limited resources to serve the city of Bartlesville and the surrounding areas. Advocacy and outreach are essential themes of the mission of Ray of Hope, so the purpose of this project is to assist with existing community outreach campaigns.”

The Schwab Alumni Grant will help to further develop Ray of Hope printed materials and online resources for purposes of creating awareness of services and resources that are available to survivors and their families. By providing information about their services to those in need, it may lead to more people seeking help for the dire situations that they regrettably face on a day-to-day basis.

“I am truly humbled and honored to receive the Lori Ann Schwab ’95 Alumni Grant and look forward to seeing the lasting impact that this award will have on the Ray of Hope organization, the survivors of abuse, and the surrounding community,” Waddell says.

— by Jeremy Shapiro

For your information:

Learn more about the Lori Ann Schwab ’95 Alumni Grant and how to apply for the 2021 grant.

To read more alumni news, check out our news archive.