News & Blog: Learner Stories


Katherine Payne, a Literacy Coordinator with the Adult Tutoring Program, submitted this profile of Ahmed and his tutor, Rachael.

Ahmed has been working with his tutor, Rachael, for more than one year. Ahmed, a Sudanese refugee, is incredibly devoted to improving his English skills. Since working with his tutor, he has also enrolled in English classes through the Literacy Center’s Customized Workplace English program.

Ahmed works for a local manufacturing plant that is in the process of laying off all employees at his plant due to advancement in robotic technologies. With the threat of being laid off constantly in the back of his mind, Ahmed pushes himself to constantly improve his understanding of English so that he has the skills to find his own future employment.

Rachael and AhmedIn addition to working on workplace communication skills, Ahmed is studying to become a US citizen. As a refugee who has lived in the US for nearly 3 years, he is still not eligible to apply for naturalization, but he wants to be as prepared as possible once that time comes. Each week, his tutor quizzes him on facts he needs to know for the citizenship interview. He proudly recites them to me whenever I see him: "Katherine, each state is allotted two seats in the Senate. That means there are 100 Senators."

“Katherine, each state is allotted two seats in the senate. That means there are 100 Senators."

Studying for citizenship has sparked his interest in US history. He is especially inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and has become a voracious reader about the civil rights movement.


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