Headshot Photo of Sophie Wolters
2022 Award Recipient


Project Student Connection

Location Sammamish, WA

Issue Area Education

After years of wanting to quit on her education, an academic tutor gave Sophie the confidence to succeed. Seeing how economic barriers can force students to fall behind in school, Sophie created Student Connection to provide that same access to help to students who can’t afford academic support. Pairing trained tutors with students who lack resources, Student Connection provides a key support system, directly helping hundreds of students across 70 schools.

Over the course of 15,000 hours of tutoring, 96% of students improved at least one letter grade in math, 79% in English, and 71% in science. New partnerships with low-income school districts in Washington state will make Student Connection available to 70,000 students. The program also provides leadership opportunities to its 280 volunteers, who see the impact of their support in the growing confidence and higher grades of the students they tutor. As Student Connection continues to grow, Sophie intends to use the effort as a tool for structural change to make America’s educational system more equitable.

In every student we serve, I see myself: a future learner who just needs to believe in themselves.

Sophie Wolters
Sophies sits with a young student on a bench outside looking at homework.

Student Connection


Determined to break the economic barriers to educational support, Sophie created Student Connection, which pairs students in under-resourced communities with trained tutors to boost their self-confidence and, as a result, strengthen their academic performance. In three years, the program has directly supported 500 students across 70 schools.
Student Connection Logo