Growing up, Tammy Spivey didn’t have the best educational experiences, but her time at City Colleges has been different.

During her early schooling years, Tammy attended 13 elementary schools. As a student with ADHD who is partially deaf, a lot of her teachers didn’t know how to best instruct her. This led Tammy to take a gap year after graduating from Lane Tech High School.

After working for a year, Tammy decided she wanted to go into policy or politics. She decided City Colleges would be the best place to study psychology and political science to help her achieve those dreams. She chose Harold Washington and Wilbur Wright colleges as her campuses and has had nothing but positive experiences.

“I’ve gained a lot at City Colleges,” Tammy said. “There’s an advantage here that you don’t get in most educational spaces because of the diversity. You have nontraditional students that are older than you, as well as students of different genders, different races, and different backgrounds, which is a lot more like real life.”

Tammy also is appreciative of the resources available to all students, which she says illustrates the colleges’ commitment to equity and inclusivity. She’s taken advantage of tutoring and the Wellness Center. The latter has helped her work with her professors to get the accommodations she needs for her ADHD.

“City Colleges is an amazing representation of what equity really is,” said Tammy. “At City Colleges, anybody can use what they need. There’s equal access to it and you don’t have to explain or feel embarrassed.”

Recently, Tammy learned she was selected to join the 2024-2025 cohort of Newman Civic Fellows. The yearlong program recognizes students for their leadership potential and their commitment to creating positive change in their community.

Since 2024 is an election year, Tammy wants to hold early registration drives and set up transportation to get people to and from the polls. Her long-term goals include strengthening the student community at her campuses. She also wants to champion accessible education in all communities due to her personal experiences.

“Accessibility, equity, and empathy are the keys to improving society,” she said. “Accessibility to education is important to me, as I have experienced first-hand the difficulties of receiving a proper education.”

Tammy and her fellow student civic leaders will attend workshops and network during a three-day conference. The fellowship will also provide Tammy with mini grants to help fund community projects, scholarships, and post-graduate opportunities. She hopes to use this experience to learn patience, neutrality, how to be bi-partisan, and how to talk with others who may have different political beliefs from her.

After graduating from City Colleges, Tammy plans to transfer to a four-year university and then go to law school. She wants to become a lawyer or a judge but isn’t ruling out being on the ballot herself one day.