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Employee Voices Series: Liz Pattermann on Equitable Education

By Liz Pattermann

When I was a teenager, I learned that equitable education access was one of the hallmarks of living in a just world.

In the years since then, I’ve realized that I really do want to live in a just world; and, as some of the veils of my naivety have fallen away, I’ve decided I’ll settle for as close to a just world as we can intentionally create. So while I’m not sure that we’ll ever achieve world peace, or climate stability, or completely equitable access to education, I do believe that these are goals worth actionably moving toward. Luckily, right now I have the immense privilege of working at Moneythink in the space of creating more equitable access to postsecondary education for young Americans as they come of age.

Making Equitable Education Access a Reality

A decade ago, as the threshold of my own high school graduation was approaching, I didn’t know a thing about how you decide what to do with the rest of your life.

Although I don’t believe there is a single, ultimate way to approach this question, I had the fortune of having my values, aptitudes, and interests analyzed by professionals who guided me into a major of Computer Science, which wound up fitting me very well. These experts told me that a C.S. career might not be able to fulfill all the values I held, however; and so I may need to seek out volunteer opportunities to satisfy those cravings.

Before Moneythink, that was true: I’d had to go out of my way to find places and spaces to volunteer, and to try and create a workplace culture where the setting aside of concerns for self-interest was a normal, if irregular, act.

Nowadays, at Moneythink, even though a lot of my daily Engineering tasks may sound quite far removed from the work of creating a more just world, I am able to get that internal yearning to “help others” fed continuously.

Liz

I’m still able to exercise my aptitudes and explore my interests; and, with this wonderful team, these desiderata happen within the context of our shared, common values.

Moneythink’s Work

The work that we at Moneythink do is in service of our mission: the projects we pour resources into are for our students, and so we find no value in clinging to any ego-laden detritus which our students find no value in. We believe in high standards, all-encompassing diversity, positivity, creativity, and an evidence-based approach to transformation. Only in this way can we promote equitable education access for all.

Our work, along with our approach to it, is premised on the notion that transformation is possible: that we can engage in acts that alter the composition and the norms of our shared, common world; that together, we can create the more just world we want to live in.

I am still quite young, and perhaps that is why I am hopeful yet. I see us all as brimming with irrepressible human potential. I see all the ways in which we can pour our time, energy, and attention into “better”, rather than merely allowing our life force to trickle towards a self-interested “more”. I see how, through a shared, common devotion to the greater good of this next generation, we can swell the rising tide to lift more ships. And so for now, I am glad to be working with the people that I am, in the way that I am, in the space that I am, working to create a world more just than it was the day before.

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