WSP Georgetown 2020 Cohort Spotlight: Indigo Routh and Matt Braaten

Indigo Routh, U.S. Air Force veteran

Indigo Routh

What was your educational experience prior to WSP? Would you consider yourself a confident student?

My educational experience has been sporadic since graduating from high school. After joining the military, I learned Farsi at the Defense Language Institute (DLI) in Monterey, CA, I took a couple of CLEPs throughout my career, then earned a real estate license toward the end of my enlistment. I did not consider myself a confident student; I shied away from college because I struggled in high school and DLI more than my classmates. After the Georgetown WSP humanities course, I realized I have the potential to not only get accepted into a university but also do well in class.

Had you participated in any sort of virtual learning before? If so, how does your WSP experience compare to that?

The only virtual learning I had participated in was online real estate certification courses, which were as dry as they sound. My WSP experience was engaging, interactive, and overall enjoyable. The virtual course was conducted so professionally it seemed as though it had been virtual since the program was founded.  Why were you excited to participate in WSP this summer?

I was excited to engage with the WSP fellows that have separated from the military and achieved academic goals that I would like to accomplish as well, including: meet other veterans that are in the same situation as me, learn about veteran academic benefits previously unknown to me, and of course, experience a taste of college life to see if it was right for me. What have you learned so far that you think will be helpful as you pursue your degree?

The professors in the humanities course taught us invaluable writing skills and provided feedback on our essays, pinpointing what will take our writing to the next level. The seminars and reading provided me with a new perspective on American democracy that will likely be referenced in many essays throughout my academic career. The stories from the WSP fellows and cohorts have been truly inspirational and motivate me to be ambitious when setting my academic goals.  What was your favorite session, and why?

My favorite sessions by far were the morning seminars. I feel fortunate to be able to interact with brilliant speakers who were kind enough to volunteer their time to WSP. Their encouragement for our participation inspired insightful discussions that never failed to keep my attention.  Are there any instructors or fellows who have made a difference for you?

All the instructors and fellows were welcoming and encouraging and had a significant contribution to the success of the course. I was lucky to have Derek Auguste and Jazzmen Blackwell as fellows every day during our course. Their motivation kept us going through the long days and they are quintessential veteran students. Writing played a huge role in the course; I'm grateful for Professor Temple and Professor Krawczyk for devoting a significant portion of time toward building our writing skills and providing thorough critiques for each of our end of course essays. Writing an essay in a week can be daunting, but the task was made achievable by our amazing writing tutors; I worked with Caroline who is talented and provided critical feedback during those late-night writing sessions.  Is WSP having any effect on how confident you feel as a student?

It has been a night and day difference. 


Matt Braaten, U.S. Navy veteran

Matt Braaten

What was your educational experience prior to WSP? Would you consider yourself a confident student?

 I had started attending online college courses approximately one and a half years ago on a very sporadic basis. To date, I have taken 7 courses. I considered myself a fairly confident student who had done well in the online setting.


Had you participated in any sort of virtual learning before? If so, how does your WSP experience compare to that?

 All of my credits have been online, but the virtual settings are vastly different from those to the WSP. The interactivity of the WSP program was unparalleled compared to my past online courses.


Why were you excited to participate in WSP this summer?

 I was very excited to get the “real” college experience with world-renowned professors as well as spend the week among peers from the military who have similar ambitions and actively seek the best version of themselves.


What have you learned so far that you think will be helpful as you pursue your degree?

 The biggest takeaways I have from the program have been the vast amount of resources available to veterans in pursuance of their higher education goals and the writing skills. I never knew about many of the resources available on a college campus to help us succeed as well as never experienced the incredible willingness of veterans to help other veterans out. With regard to writing, I took a lot of lessons from the first-class professors and TAs that I plan on carrying through my entire academic career.


What was your favorite session, and why?

 The seminar with James Fallows would have to be my favorite session. The depth and involvement by all parties of that discussion was something I have never experienced before. Mr. Fallows gave amazing insight and information which was discussed by our cohort in such great detail and intelligence. Sharing ideas on deep and heavy topics in the utmost professional academic setting with someone like Mr. Fallows is surely something I will not soon forget.


Are there any instructors or fellows who have made a difference for you?

 This applies to quite literally every single person involved in the WSP. Every fellow demonstrated immense care and a genuine desire to want to see us succeed, I felt comfortable asking them any question. The professors of each seminar gave us incredible information with regard to the quite difficult readings we were assigned. I have not learned as much about the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution in my entire life as I did in one week. Finally, the writing professors and TAs helped me develop my writing skills to a much higher level than ever before with lessons I can carry with me throughout the rest of my life.


Is WSP having any effect on how confident you feel as a student?

 WSP has provided me with a greatly elevated level of confidence. I was a pretty confident student coming into the course and while it showed me that there is so much I do not know, it also showed me that I have all the tools necessary to be a competent and capable student at any top-tier university.

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