Maureen Wainwright, Special Assistant to the President

What is your background, in terms of where you call home, education, relevant experience, volunteer work, etc?

I live in Des Moines, Iowa. I have completed my first year of school at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota and I am planning to return to school in August. I spent all of my four years of high school as a volunteer tutor at Gigi's Playhouse, a nonprofit organization that supports children with Down syndrome. I loved my experience at Gigi's and I was excited to apply the skills I learned through this experience at FORA.


What led you to FORA and what made you want to commit to this organization?

I discovered FORA through the website Idealist.org. I originally applied to be a FORA tutor because I was inspired by their message and their mission to help support the educational needs of refugees in America.


What has been the highlight of your time with FORA so far?

The many highlights of my time at FORA have definitely come from working with the students. I have met almost all of the kids at FORA in order to administer reading and math assessments. I always love getting to talk to each kid and hear a little bit about their lives and how they are doing. It is also amazing to look back at a student's growth throughout a school year.


What brings you joy in life / what do you like to do in your free time?

I am on the St. Olaf Swim and Dive team and I also swam throughout high school and middle school. I love swimming both competitively and for fun. I also enjoy reading, drinking lots of coffee, going on hikes, and spending time with family and friends.


What is your favorite quote?

One of my favorite quotes is from Dr. Paul Farmer who said, "The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world."


What is a fun fact about you?

One fun fact about me is that I regularly sleep at night with my eyes open.



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