State Policy Analyst credits SPSCC as her 'springboard to opportunity'

Monday, January 2, 2017

Inspired by SPSCC: Kathy Hoffman

Ph.D. Candidate & Policy Analyst, Washington State Department of Health


Kathy smiles with glasses in front of the WA State Capitol Building

“I can't stress enough the significance of what seemed like a humble beginning in the academic world turning into something larger than I ever imagined.”

Kathy Hoffman, SPSCC (1998), Paralegal

Kathy is an incredible advocate for the unique and flexible role that SPSCC plays in the lives of its students.

While she quickly progressed to earn a bachelor’s degree and eventually a master’s degree, Kathy credits her start at SPSCC as the catalyst that inspired her career in policy and law.

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“It all started with a creative writing class in 1996 that launched me into the life-long pursuit of education and civic engagement," said Kathy.  “SPSCC helped me find my voice, my strength, and my way.  It is a rich and robust community resource that can serve as the springboard to opportunity.”

Kathy stands smiling in front of the Washington State Capitol Building

Kathy began her paralegal career while still attending SPSCC in the late 1990s.  She landed a job at a local law firm as a legal secretary where she was promoted to a paralegal position just after graduation.  After several years, her desire to keep learning struck and she applied to The Evergreen State College for Pre-Law.  Her degree at SPSCC allowed her to transfer into her junior year at Evergreen and she graduated with a bachelor’s degree just two years later.

Kathy took her next career step at the Attorney General’s office in the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit as their sole paralegal for the civil section when it was formed.  She worked every day to protect the citizens of Washington from the illegal actions of some drug companies and health care providers.

In 2013, she heard her next journey calling her and began to pursue a master’s degree in Public Administration, again at Evergreen.  Also at that time, Kathy found her career evolving and started as a policy analyst with the rules and legislation division of the Department of Health, Health Systems Quality Assurance.

“I write rules and policy for the Certificate of Need program and the Pharmacy Commission.  My job involves a great deal of stakeholder work and interaction with officials, consultants, and, most importantly, the public. I work every day to make sure that regulations are in place to keep the public safe and assure access to needed healthcare services and safe medications.”

Kathy stands smiling in front of the State Law building

When we met Kathy at the Capitol Campus on that rainy winter day, she emanated a deep love for the work she does and serving the community.  She shared about her husband (a high school teacher turned lawyer), sitting in on legislative sessions, and how she spent countless hours researching in the State Law Library, because “how else could you study law in 1998?”

Kathy holds an associate degree in paralegal, a bachelor’s degree in Pre-Law, a master’s degree in Public Administration, and is currently beginning doctoral studies at Antioch University's Leadership and Change program.  And she’s humbled that her journey led her there from a start at SPSCC.

“I hope that my story might help others realize that the important thing is to start, even if it is just one class. That one class may be the gateway to a world you never knew existed and opportunities beyond your dreams.”

A special note from Kathy:

“I have such fond memories of my torts and administrative law instructors—and of George Darkenwald. I attended his funeral and shared my memories of him, his work, and his contributions to my success.”

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