Karina Woodruff

Senior Program Manager of Shelter, Outreach and Support Services at Friends of Youth

Bothell, Washington

Class of 2013, Educational Ministry major


As the senior program manager of Shelter, Outreach and Support Services at Friends of Youth, Woodruff supervises a staff that works to support young people experiencing homelessness. She says she has the honor of walking alongside some of the most resilient young people she has ever met as they work toward meeting their personal goals in the company’s drop-in center.

How does your time at SPU connect to what you’re doing today?

My time at SPU was formative to the work I am doing today in the social-service sphere. As an educational ministry major, I was able to learn about ways to communicate with a variety of age groups and backgrounds. As a reconciliation studies and women’s studies minor, I learned sociological and theological perspectives for understanding systems, humanity, and community development.

Which SPU faculty or staff member made a difference in your education?

Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil, Dr. Brian Bantum, and Dr. Kevin Neuhouser were three of the most influential faculty members during my SPU career. All three of these professors supported me by making time to meet outside of classroom time. These professors helped me as I worked toward asking complex questions pertaining to race and identity.

What advice would you give to current SPU students?

Don’t underestimate your abilities to find a career that combines your passions and education. Take opportunities to volunteer, work, and learn in fields of work that you enjoy.