Amy Spieker ’09 on community health advocacy, service and building relationships
By Lisa Patterson '98
Marketing & Communications Guest Writer
TACOMA, WASH. (Feb. 18, 2020) — If you’ve ever wondered whether leaders are born or made, the answer is both. At least it is when you’re referring to Pacific Lutheran University graduate Amy Spieker ’09.
“That they’ll be providing for all the summer expenses really makes it accessible for lower-income individuals since it’s really hard for people to not have to work over the summer,” Dolan said. “It’s really generous of the program and hopefully that will mean there will be more lower-income students there.”
So far in his ASPLU career as civic engagement director, Dolan already advocates for low-income students. Recently he and his ASPLU colleagues talked to state legislators about Washington’s State Need Grant. Dolan received the grant his first year at PLU, but wasn’t offered the funding the following school year. Dolan helped convince the Legislature to fund the grant so an additional 5,000 students will receive it for the next school year.
“I was able to feel the effects of losing financial aid,” Dolan said. “I received other scholarships to make up for that, but a lot of people aren’t that lucky and that means that they don’t get to continue their education and I think that’s terrible.”
As far as Dolan’s continuing education, Carnegie Mellon has that covered. Upon successfully completing the summer program, Riley will be offered admission to Carnegie Mellon’s graduate school of public policy with a full-ride scholarship.
“It was hard enough for undergrad trying to find ways to fund my education, let alone graduate school,” Dolan said. “I haven’t even been thinking about it really because I wanted to finish undergrad. But I knew that it would be tough, so to already be admitted with a full ride — it’s a very calming feeling to have.”
Dolan also is excited to share opportunities with his fellow Lutes. Dolan made a list of summer fellowships and opportunities that he’s happy to share with other students. He’s eager to help his peers who are looking to apply to programs like the one he’s attending at Carnegie Mellon.
“I’m a huge advocate for trying to demonstrate that programs like these are possible,” Dolan said. “It’s not just people at Ivy League schools that are able to do things like this.”