Kassandra Gossens, a transfer student representing Madison College and now studying at UW-Madison, is passionate about literacy. She has works as a writing tutor at Madison College and has facilitated classes with the Literacy Network of Dane County. As a nontraditional student, Kassandra recognizes the many barriers that may make the higher education environment feel unwelcoming. She works within institutions and in community-based settings to support people as they pursue education through various pathways. Kassandra is also committed to civic engagement through volunteering, and has coordinated volunteer opportunities for students at Madison College.
When I began volunteering with at-risk youth in my community, I recognized the ways I can positively impact the lives of others by helping with reading and writing. After my service learning was finished, I took an internship working with adults on their literacy skills. I began to understand that helping others learn should be looked at more holistically. Mental health should be a top priority in our education systems. Neither adults nor children can learn when they are in a state of personal turmoil. I want to help address the underlying issues influencing people’s ability to learn. I’m also an advocate for changes in the education system to better accommodate all types of students.