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At the spring luncheon each year, the Puget Sound Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa honors individuals (both adult and youth), businesses, and institutions with the Pathfinder Award. The award certificate reflects the imagery on the distinguished Phi Beta Kappa key, a hand pointing to the stars. It is given to those who “encourage others to seek new worlds to discover, pathways to explore, and untouched destinations to reach.” The people, businesses, and institutions honored do something to broaden peoples' interest in active intellectual accomplishment; they reach beyond ordinary routine, beyond the regular requirement of their lives and jobs, in order to break new intellectual ground and/or inspire others to do so.

These are the awardees for the last few years.


Atlantic Street Center, a non-profit social service agency which works to help families and communities raise healthy and successful

children and youth through direct services as well as advocacy for social justice and equity. This includes services such as education, family support, and behavioral health counseling to low-income minority populations in King and Pierce Counties.

Andrea Liao, founder of Book the Future. Andrea is an Interlake High School student who founded Book the Future, which has as its
goal providing diverse books to children to help improve their futures and obtain global youth literacy. This includes monthly book drives, summer literacy camps, writing workshops, and a digital magazine.


Luis Ortega, founder of Storytellers for Change, an organization committed to building an empathetic, inclusive, and equitable world by
harnessing the power of stories to make social change.


Hopelink, for its education programs helping immigrants, refugees, and high school students.

Path With Art, for using creative engagement to help those recovering from addiction, homelessness, and trauma.


AAUW, for its Tech Trek Program helping middle school girls explore STEM fields in a fun and supportive setting.


Redeeming Soles for collecting and cleaning shoes and then donating them to underprivileged men, women, and children, enabling and encouraging them to overcome adversity.


Garfield High School English teacher Adam Gishfor using his own funds and funds from anonymous donors to take 100 Garfield High School students to Elliot Bay Book Co. to purchase books. Each student had a $50 gift card, to which the store added a 20% discount. Many students had never been to a bookstore or owned a book of their own.


The Globe Reads for promoting empathetic and social engagement through shared reading and discussion by connecting middle/high school students from diverse cultures, cross sections of society, and countries.


Art with Heart, for creating therapeutic activity books and spreading the healing power of creative expression to kids facing trauma or adversity.


Detective Denise “Cookie” Bouldin, for starting Detective Cookie’s Urban Youth Chess Club, where youth have fun playing chess, a positive activity that develops critical thinking and problem-solving skills, teaches youth about the consequences of their actions, and improves their self-esteem.


Teens in Public Service, for producing future leaders committed to their communities by connecting teens with life-changing opportunities and internships at non-profit organizations. In the last 20 years Teens in Public Service has employed nearly 1,000 teens, who have worked over 200,000 service hours in more than 150 non-profit organizations.


League of Women of Women Voters of Seattle–King County and Starbucks Coffee Company for sponsoring Ballots and Baristas at six Starbucks locations in King County on November 1. Attendees were given a sample ballot with a postage stamp to mail their ballot, and had the opportunity to discuss important ballot initiatives with their neighbors.


T. Kieran O’Mahony, Ph.D., of the UW Life Center and ICNtl, LLC, for his work on the Synap2Brane methodology and software, which is a neuroscience-based teaching and learning methodology. O’Mahony has worked tirelessly to “teach the teachers” how to apply Synap2Brane in their classrooms, working with 1,500+ teachers while he continues to seek funding to develop the software. ICNtl seeks to foster a supportive, healthy learning environment that recognizes all students learn at different rates with different levels of support.


Paige Edmiston, for the innovative Sidekick Collective, a non-profit she founded to recognize high school students for their extraordinary efforts to make the world a better place and to provide seed money to carry their efforts forward as young adults.

Ocean Group at the Asian Counseling and Referral Service, for its programs to teach children of Pacific Island heritage the languages, oral histories, dances, and songs of their ancestors, and helping them to gain confidence in their intellectual abilities.



George T. Cox for his project, the Alexander Hamilton Friends Association, started in Seattle but now nationwide, to assist a selected group of high school students in enrolling in college, providing mentors, and establishing an annual leadership camp in Seattle.


The Center for Children and Youth Justice, founded by former Washington State Supreme Court Justice Bobbe Bridge, for keeping children in foster care and out of the court system, and for efforts to improve legislation affecting youth.

The Seattle Repertory Theatre Education Department, for sponsoring a professional arts training program and programs aimed at youths, including the August Wilson Monologue Competition, and teaching students to write short stories and plays.



Holly Arsenault and Teen Tix, for introducing thousands of teenagers to the performing arts. Teen Tix has facilitated the sale of over 40,000 arts tickets to teens. The day-of-show tickets to 45 arts organizations throughout the Puget Sound region cost only $5 each.


The Pacific Science Center has provided exceptional science, history, environmental, and cultural exhibits; summer camps; and educational programs for over 50 years. Programs are provided at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle and the Mercer Slough Environmental Center in Bellevue. Their Science on Wheels program travels throughout Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.


Bradley Smith has led the orchestra program at Eckstein Middle School in Seattle for over a decade. Under his leadership, the program has won competitions nationwide. He has worked with colleagues and volunteers to organize musical summer camps, retreats, and trips to ensure that students at all levels have the opportunity to reach new heights of excellence.

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