Meet TCC's 2023 All-Washington Scholars

A Black woman with long black hair and a White woman with long blond hair, both at TCC.
Pictured above: Josphine Mwangi and Madeline Sprute. 

About the All-Washington Scholars Program 

Every year, each of Washington's 34 community and technical colleges honors two or more high-achieving students at the All-Washington Event at South Puget Sound Community College. Attended by the Governor or a representative from the Governor's office, the event is an opportunity to showcase the outstanding talent found within the community and technical college system. All-Washington students are normally awarded a scholarship, and some have the opportunity to win larger scholarships and be named All-USA scholars. 

This year, the event will be held at noon April 27, 2023. 

Josphine Mwangi 

Josphine Mwangi’s childhood was so challenging that when she did a research paper on Adverse Childhood Experiences for a psychology class, she recognized most of the adverse experiences from her own life. Born and raised in Kenya, Josphine lost her mother and father at a young age. She knew that education was her path forward and worked hard in school. As a result, she won a sponsorship from a U.S.-based non-profit, completed high school, and won a scholarship to study in China. After winning the Diversity Visa Lottery she moved to the United States and began working as a Certified Nursing Assistant. Josphine is currently completing her Nursing program prerequisites and hopes to enter TCC’s Nursing program in the fall. Ultimately, she plans to become a Nurse Practitioner, return to Kenya, and help orphaned children attend school and achieve their goals. 

“I always love to help people and I get so much satisfaction in doing so, this has always motivated me to volunteer whenever I get the opportunity to,” Josphine wrote in her All Washington application. “Today, I am where I am because people who did not know me at a personal level volunteered, and contributed to an organization that helps needy but bright African students.”

Josphine had a rocky start at TCC and considered dropping out. She found it difficult to return to school after six years away, especially since she had trouble understanding her professors and making herself understood in class. But then she noticed that others in her classes were facing the same challenge. She responded by starting a study group for students who speak English as a second language. 

“We share common struggles of being immigrants from Africa, first generation to attend college, and being black women. Although we all have different stories, we have similar struggles of settling in a foreign country with no immediate family,” Josphine wrote. “The group has been very successful as we feel a sense of belonging whenever we gather together to study and share the different challenges we face.” 

As Josphine continues her own educational journey, she makes time to volunteer through her church and supports siblings who remain in Kenya.

“Volunteerism has taught me to be selfless and improve on my leadership qualities,” Josphine wrote. “Good leaders need to put other people’s needs before their own.” 

Madeline Sprute 

Madeline Sprute has taken a nontraditional path to academic excellence and leadership. She missed most of third grade, dropped out of school for the first time in seventh grade, and dropped out again after completing one semester of online high school. She continued to learn on her own as an adult while working as a line cook, a job at which she excelled even as she began wishing for a career that offered something more.  

Suffering from burnout after five years in the restaurant industry, Madeline sold most of her possessions and moved overseas, where she had the transformative experience of living in the Occupied Territory of Palestine for three months. The experience clarified her life goals.  

“Before the trip, my goals were self-centered, I only thought about what my success could do for me and my family,” Madeline wrote in her All-Washington application. “After the trip it was different, my life became about how I can contribute to society at large.”  

Madeline says that her career goal can be distilled down to promoting racial equity; she hopes to work in the field of foreign policy development, helping to dismantle the racist legacies of colonialism that operate within international politics.  

“I hope to positively influence the way the United States interacts with developing countries,” Madeline wrote. “I believe that the settler colonialist mindset, which is rooted in racism, dominates U.S. foreign policy and that few things are more detrimental to the global community.”  

Madeline has found a way to start this work at TCC, where she serves as Student Body President and is currently completing an internship in Olympia, Washington, lobbying bills that would close equity gaps in education at the state policy level. 

She has taken every opportunity expand her own understanding of racial equity, participating in TCC’s Identity, Culture and Community workshops and in a Washington Student Association workshop that led to her writing a proposal for student housing bill that she is currently lobbying in Olympia. If it passes, the bill would contribute to housing the state’s estimated 76,002 homeless students. Madeline notes that, even if the bill doesn’t pass this session, it has already garnered the support of the Washington Student Association. The WSA represents more than 150,000 students who are now committed to supporting the bill for as long as it takes to pass. 

Madeline is participating in the Global Studies Distinction Pathway at TCC, and her capstone project deals with the impact of modern settler colonialism on Native Americans and Palestinians.  

“The further I get into this research, the more I am inspired to keep going,” Madeline wrote.  “I know that long into the future I will be working to ensure that policy makers fully understand the implications of their actions.”  

Madeline will finish her associate degree at TCC this spring. She hopes to transfer to the University of Washington in the fall and eventually earn a doctorate. Her dream is to work for the Quincy Institute of Responsible Statecraft.  

Image of campus commons

Our Doors Are Open to You