Civic and community engagement can spark a passion in students that they carry throughout their careers. We caught up with one such alumni, Kevin Tsay, who graduated from WashU in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts in Educational Studies and Organization & Human Resources and now calls Seattle home.
Tsay currently serves as a director of Program Management and Product Strategy Operations at Turnitin, a company that works with educators to help prevent plagiarism and empower students to do their best, original work. His time at WashU included involvement with the national service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega, Campus Y tutoring programs, and with the Community Service Steering Committee, started by Tsay and a group of his peers.
“Looking back on those programs, I made some wonderful friendships grounded in a community of service,” Tsay said.
From that involvement and those friendships, Tsay said, he learned to surround himself with people who want to “pursue doing good.”
He learned to listen to others and to learn from and with communities, and how to apply scholarship toward solutions that can sustain the value of service to make lasting impact.
After his graduation from WashU, Tsay went on to become an elementary school teacher before earning a Master of Public Policy at Duke University in 2013. From there, his career took a trajectory that allowed him to have a broader impact on children’s health, education, and community service. Tsay worked for Embrace, a non-profit organization that provides low-cost infant incubators to reduce infant mortality across 24 countries, where he developed their program operations and analytics. Later, as a Strategy and Impact manager at Chicago Public Schools, he helped expand instruction for English Learners from English as a Second Language students to Dual Language programs. At Amazon, Tsay worked as a Program Manager, Underserved Populations, to improve services to SNAP customers.
“[The WashU programs I participated in] gave me opportunities to build relationships with students, participate in organizational efforts, and imagine how the academic skills I learned through my studies at WashU could develop and apply throughout the course of my career,” he said.
Tsay hopes more students take advantage of the community service and engagement offerings at the university.
“I hope students learn in their time at WashU that there are many ways to make an impact that will change over time based on where help is needed and the strengths they uniquely have as they pursue their curiosities,” he said.