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Rema Hamdan

I started off at Higher Ground in the Spring of 2015 as the resident math expert, volunteering through a class I was taking at University of Arizona. As the kids got to know me and I took on the Academic Coordinator AmeriCorps State position, I became known as “The Evil Math Queen" that made all the kids do the one thing they hated most – homework. I guess the kids did not have much say when Higher Ground asked me to stay another year as an AmeriCorps VISTA, who could now follow them into the school day, to make sure their homework actually made it to the program.

After two years serving as an AmeriCorps member and wielding my evil math powers, I was hired on to manage Higher Ground’s expansion into the schools through the Community Schools Initiative. I now work with about 16 AmeriCorps members placed in the schools and at Higher Ground to build up each school as a community resource hub and coach students to improve attendance rates. Even though my focus has shifted and I am always running between school sites, I still manage to make it to the program to dawn my mathematical crown just enough so the kids know their queen has not seceded.

For an undergrad who just wanted to share her love of math with kiddos, Higher Ground has become a place where I can help shift the culture of education in Tucson – all because the kids, the staff, and the mission captured my heart from the very first moment.