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Emily Yim’s work offers students the opportunity to gain insights into career opportunities and working environments.

Emily Yim may have left the University of Washington 24 years ago with a degree in political science, but she hasn’t left education behind. As president and CEO of the Washington Alliance for Better Schools, a nonprofit dedicated to improving opportunities for students in the state, she leads an organization that serves more than 315,000 students and mentors more than 27,000 people annually.

“One important area of ​​work we prioritize … is amplifying student and parent voices in the community by working with family partners, school partners and the student community to develop relevant programs,” says Yim, ’00. Previously, she was vice president of community and external relations at Chase Bank, where one of her focuses was K-12 education. “The organization’s mission is to lead partnership work that rallies support for students who have fewer opportunities to pursue their passions and dreams.”

One shining example is the After School STEM Academy. “The strategy for working with students revolves around continuous learning from preschool through high school,” she says. “We encourage schools to make STEM subjects interactive, messy, fun and noisy. We bring in community partners to facilitate the lessons. This is important because you want to focus on building sustainable skills, critical thinking, communication and collaboration.”

The Career Tours program is designed for students who have not previously been exposed to career opportunities, including BIPOC, low-income, and first-generation individuals. Students visit a workplace and see what a company does, hear from employees about their educational and career paths, and participate in work-related learning activities. These work-based learning experiences give students insight into potential careers and an understanding of some of the skills employers are looking for.

For Yim, a highlight of her 13 years of service has been seeing the consortium grow from a small group of districts to multiple counties across the state. “But what I value most is all the people I’ve gotten to meet when it comes to students, families and volunteers,” she says. “When families are interested in getting involved in their schools and we can help them develop their own vision and action plan to be a cultural bridge to their own community, it’s great to see the impact on many things, including learning.”

Yim’s son, Carter, will follow in his mother’s footsteps this fall and attend UW, the only university he applied to. “I wanted to go to U-Dub,” she recalls. “I’m excited for him to have as amazing an experience as I did… There’s so much to learn.”

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