Meet Alumni: Anna O’Dell


Anna Graduated with her degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (Political Science, Child Advocacy, and Substance Abuse and Disorders) in December 2023. She currently work at Washington County Juvenile Court Division VIII and is the Team Lead FINS officer.

Anna’s Journey

What has been the most rewarding thing about receiving your degree?

  • I am now working in the field that I went to school for. I am able to advocate for children in the juvenile system while also providing a life of opportunities for my son.

Who kept you motivated during your time as an SPSFNWA scholarship recipient? How did SPSFNWA contribute to that motivation?

  • The main thing that kept me motivated was my son (who I adopted out of the juvenile system) and knowing that I would be able to step towards giving him the life he deserved and being able to advocate for other children that have stories similar to my son’s. SPSF provided resources that allowed me to provide for my family so that I can make sure my child’s needs were met without taking away time from my child.

What was the most beneficial part of being a SPSFNWA scholarship recipient? 

  • The financial burden being taken off of my shoulders. I didn’t have to stress about working two jobs to pay for my tuition and supplies. I worked to pay the bills and used the time left over after that to be a mommy and to study.

How has your pursuit of an education influence your son?

  • Hopefully one day it will influence my child to chase his dreams no matter what obstacles may lay ahead.

What has changed most for you and your family now that you are no longer in school? 

  • I have more time to spend with my child. I am also making more money and have been given more freedom to provide fun and shaping experiences for my child.

What is your favorite SPSFNWA activity?

  • The estate planning provided by Legal Aid and SPSFNWA*

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment since completing your education?

  • Landing a job in the juvenile court less than 3 months after graduation!

Looking back, was there one skill that you learned that was particularly useful, either in college/school or in the professional world?

  • Discipline. You have all the excuses in the world to give up when you’re a single parent trying to finish school. Only you can make yourself continue to show up when it’s hard. “You in 2 years will be so proud that you didn’t give up”.

What advice would you give someone desiring to go back to school?

  • “If you can dream it you can do it” – Walt Disney

Final Thoughts: 2 Years ago I sat in Judge Zimmerman’s court as a foster parent and thought to myself “I want to help fix this broken system. I think I can do this.” Here I am now having graduated with the degree that I sought after that day, now working in the juvenile court. I did it! I dreamed it and now I am doing it. Just one step left, LAW SCHOOL!

*SPSFNWA Partners with Legal Aid and local attorneys to provide an event for SPSFNWA recipients to create Wills and Power of Attorneys to ensure an umbrella protection for themselves and their children. This event is free to SPSFNWA Recipients.

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