Former Tutor Spotlight

Katie Van Winkle’s Service Comes Full Circle

While working as a professor at Austin Community College (ACC), former Literacy First tutor Katie Van Winkle would interact with high school students participating in the Early College High School program (ECHS), an opportunity to obtain college credit while in high school. During one of her theatre classes, Katie spotted what she thought was a familiar smile on one of the high school students. She then recognized that it was one of the students she had tutored while serving with Literacy First. “I feel so lucky to have worked with the same amazing student at both the kindergarten and the high school/college levels,” Katie shared, “and she aced the class.”

In her own words, Katie’s service with Literacy First “ignited a love for teaching,” and she’s now taught all ages, from preschool to adults. She has worked as an adjunct professor at ACC, Southwestern University, The University of Texas at Austin, and Texas State, teaching various theatre and communication topics. “I think that the experience of serving as an AmeriCorps volunteer has given me crucial perspective on how to make college courses more welcoming and transparent for first-generation students,” she said.

And today, Katie says that service remains a central part of her life. Currently, she serves on the board of directors for VaxTogetherAustin, a new COVID-19 vaccine equity organization supporting underserved populations in Austin and surrounding areas. 

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