Washington MESA would like to extend a warm welcome to the newest members of our team. Penda Samba is the new K-12 Tacoma/South Puget Sound Director. Sarah Robertson is the new MCCP Director at Olympic College.
Penda Samba has an extensive background in education (both secondary and post-secondary), and has worked in the field for the past 11 years. Penda is very passionate about designing services for underrepresented students, and work to empower students through diverse learning opportunities, intentional development and broad engagement. Penda is a big advocate for students of color, and work to ensure that they have access to STEM opportunities that stimulate and challenge innovative thinking. She believes in changing lives through education one day at a time.
Sarah Robertson has been fascinated with biology since she was a young child and subsequently earned her Master’s degree in biology from Missouri State University. She started her career studying how urbanization affected different bat species, and it was not unusual to see her tearing around town chasing bats, radio telemetry equipment in hand, hanging out the window of her car. The police (and many a curious onlooker) in Springfield, MO learned a lot about bats those years! She found that educating people was incredibly rewarding, so she spent 16 years teaching at Missouri State University, Central Carolina Community College, Lee Early College, and Northwood High School. The wild beauty of the Pacific Northwest lured her to Washington, where she currently teaches biology courses at Olympic College. In her years as an educator, Sarah noticed inequity in countless facets, and she worked tirelessly to ensure that every one of her students had the tools they needed to succeed in their classes and ultimately their chosen fields. Students would come to see her before and after school hours for academic assistance and life advice, so she always made sure she was available to mentor in any way she could. She hopes that her passion to help others will have the same impact on Olympic College students as she begins her new role as MESA Director. Her husband, Scott, is a full-time Biology instructor at OC, and they will soon be joined here in the Pacific Northwest by their two adult daughters, Kierra and Emily.