Chris was in prison twice, once for 13 months and the other time for 38 months. Between 1997 and 2005, he was booked into King County jail over 30 times and struggled with homelessness, depression, and addiction. He graduated from Washington State University with a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering. This is his story in his own words.
It seemed like an endless downward spiral, I had no stable residence, education, and a quickly growing criminal record which I built entirely through drug-seeking behavior. In August 2005, the date of my last arrest, I was hospitalized after a high-speed chase that ended with me being run over by a police car. I was facing a dozen felonies in two counties.
While I was in a drug treatment program at Stafford Creek I heard about the Post-Prison Education Program and filled out an application.
I had very little hope that anything would work and I was scared to death of trying and failing at school. I had a ninth grade education and flunked out of Math 80 (Algebra) at a community college.
Your program paid for me to get into clean and sober housing, afford counseling, and encouraged me to stick with it. The importance that you placed on education as a means to break the cycle helped me to really figure out my priorities. There were many other times that you guys helped me out and I couldn’t name them all but the result was that I stayed out of jail and got an education.
I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Washington State University in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. I’ve been employed at Antaya Science and Technology, in New Hampshire, for three years. We are a small company that focuses on research and development of medical devices. Are products are centered around particle accelerators called cyclotrons. The applications I’ve worked on are oncological proton therapy and medical isotope production. It’s been an amazing experience so far. I’ve learned how to design RF accelerating structures, use finite element analysis techniques to simulate superconducting magnet quench and protection design. Over the last eight months, I’ve been learning accelerator physics and just recently designed my first iron yoke that is used to shape a magnetic field that can support a proton beam powerful enough to turn Oxygen-18 into Fluorine-18, used to enhance the accuracy of PET scans of metastatic cancer.
I could not be happier with where I am personally and professionally.