PEP Student Publishes Play

PATRICIA PREWITT, a Prison Education Project student who is currently enrolled in college courses at the Women’s Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center (WERDCC) in Vandalia, Missouri, has had a one-act play titled Clarity published in The Massachusetts Review. This story is not fiction. Prisoners are hidden in the shadows. I feel fortunate to be […]

PEP Awarded Grant from Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis

The Prison Education Project Reentry Program has received a $32,000 grant from the Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis to support justice-involved individuals and their families. To ensure the full impact of its educational offerings, the Prison Education Project (PEP) provides free education-centered reentry planning and support for currently incarcerated and recently released students. With support from the […]

Job Announcement: PEP Intern

PEP interns work under the supervision of the PEP Program Coordinator and the PEP Director. PEP interns are responsible for a variety of job duties within the Prison Education Project, including but not limited to: Office/administrative tasks (printing, scanning, copying, filing, etc.) Organizing and updating student and program information and records Responding to student requests […]

Faculty Spotlight: Chelsey Carter

Chelsey Carter is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Anthropology and a dual candidate in the George Warren Brown School of Social Work public health program. Chelsey started college as a pre-med student with the goal of becoming a doctor and finding a cure for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the […]

What does “Higher Education” mean to me?

By Patrick Clarkson   I am crying and I don’t know why. Time is not promised, yet it is given so freely. I am nearing the end of an 11 year commitment of incarceration and I am having a difficult time coping with the blatant fact that the people tasked with administering & monitoring my […]

Meet the PEP Interns: Thu-Lan Unsoeld & Talia Weine

The Prison Education Project (PEP) relies on the time, energy, and efforts of so many passionate people on WashU’s campus, including its incredible interns! PEP currently has two interns: Thu-Lan Unsoeld, a senior majoring in Sociology and minoring in Design and American Culture Studies, and Talia Weine, a senior majoring in Religious Studies and minoring […]

Faculty Spotlight: Jan Duchek

Jan Duchek is an Emeritus Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences and of Occupational Therapy at Washington University in St. Louis. She retired this past June after having worked at WashU for 35 years. Professor Duchek first started working at the Washington University School of Medicine, where she was the project coordinator for the Memory […]

Faculty Spotlight: Bret Gustafson

Bret Gustafson is an Associate Professor of Sociocultural Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis. He studies politics in Latin America and has lately been focused on the politics of climate change and fossil fuels (oil, coal, and gas). He also studies social movements and problems tied to racism and inequality, […]

Alumni Spotlight: Kevin Hammerschmidt

Kevin Hammerschmidt is a Prison Education Project (PEP) alumnus and current WashU School of Continuing & Professional Studies (CAPS) student. He is an advisor and consultant for the PEP Alumni Program, a group that provides reentry support to PEP students as they transition back to the community. He is also a scholarship recipient in the […]

St. Louis Reentry Resource Guide

The Washington University in St. Louis Prison Education Project, in collaboration with the newly formed STL Reentry Collective, is excited to announce the release of a comprehensive new resource guide for formerly incarcerated people returning to St. Louis. Initially a project of the Prison Education Project Alumni Program, the guide will be continuously updated and […]

HDW Colloquium: Haley Shoaf and LaunchCode (Links to an external site)

Haley Shoaf is a principal at LaunchCode, a nonprofit organization that trains people for job placement in the broader technology industry through free courses in computer programming.
Haley has extended this mission personally by working on initiatives to assist incarcerated student programmers, maintaining an ongoing partnership with a team at the Missouri’s Potosi Correctional Facility, a team that has designed a scaleable learning management system to be implemented statewide across the correctional system. Join us to hear her insights on increasing educational access through technology and on programming under technological and access constraints. Email Matt Kelley to RSVP.

Alumni Spotlight: Harvey Galler

Harvey Galler is a Prison Education Project (PEP) alumnus and WashU student who is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Political Science through the WashU School of Continuing & Professional Studies. Harvey graduated with his Associate in Liberal Arts in May 2019. In addition to being a full-time student, Harvey is an intern with PEP, […]

Get Involved: Second Chance Job Fair Volunteer Opportunity

The SLU Transformative Workforce Academy, which hosts the Second Chance Job Fair for formerly incarcerated people, is looking for volunteer job coaches! This would be a 9-week, approximately 1 hour per week commitment.  SLU hosted its first virtual job fair over the summer, but many jobseekers had difficulties with the follow up process due to […]

Faculty Spotlight: Lerone Martin

Lerone Martin is the Director of American Culture Studies and Associate Professor of Religion and Politics, American Culture Studies, and African and African-American Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. Professor Martin serves on the Prison Education Project (PEP) Executive Board and taught the course “Between Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.: Race, Religion and the Politics of […]

Eviction Crisis

Emma Grady-Pawl, a Master of Social Work (MSW) student in the Washington University Brown School of Social Work who is currently completing her practicum with PEP, wrote about the current eviction crisis and how racist housing policies have and will continue to disproportionately affect BIPOC communities, specifically Black women and formerly incarcerated people, leaving them vulnerable to being unhoused in […]

COVID-19 in Prison Joint Statement

In light of the global COVID-19 pandemic and its disastrous impact on incarcerated populations (so far 687 people incarcerated in the Missouri Department of Corrections have tested positive for COVID-19, and there has been 1 death), the Prison Education Project (PEP) has published a joint statement along with American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, Bail […]

Student Spotlight: Torey Adams

Torey Adams is a PEP student who is pursuing his Bachelor of Science in Integrated Studies (BSIS) degree with a concentration in Social Sciences through the School of Continuing & Professional Studies (CAPS) at Washington University in St. Louis. Torey graduated with Associate in Arts degree from Washington University in May 2019. He is the first current […]

COVID-19 in Farmington Correctional Center Advocacy Letter

A PEP alumnus recently wrote to Missouri CURE to highlight the unsafe conditions that leave those in the Transitional Housing Unit at Farmington Correctional Center vulnerable to COVID-19. We have adapted his letter as a template, which we encourage you to send to policymakers and officials. The letter advocates for (1) clemency, compassionate release, medical and geriatric parole, or […]

PEP Students’ COVID-19 Perspectives and Reflections

For our June newsletter, we asked students in the Prison Education Project (PEP) to share their stories, reflections, opinions, and creative work in order to highlight their personal experiences with coping with and living through the COVID-19 pandemic. We invited them to share the strategies they are using to continue with their schoolwork, the strengths they […]

Faculty Spotlight: Trevor Sangrey

Trevor Sangrey expertly juggles a variety of roles at Washington University in St. Louis: they are an Assistant Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences, where they organize the first-year academic programs; a Senior Lecturer in the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies department; a Faculty Fellow with Brookings College; and an academic advisor and […]

PEP to Host Virtual Book Club

Using articles and selected book chapters, this summer the PEP Alumni Program is launching a virtual book club discussion to foster conversation between PEP students, the Danforth Campus community, and the greater St. Louis community. The goal of this virtual book club is to continue encouraging intellectual curiosity and conversation despite the limitations posed by […]

Five PEP Students Inducted into Alpha Sigma Lambda

On May 7, 2020, five Prison Education Project (PEP) students were inducted into Alpha Sigma Lambda, a national nontraditional student honor society. Alpha Sigma Lambda was founded in 1946 by Dr. Rollin B. Posey, Dean at Northwestern University, to recognize adult students who achieve and maintain high scholastic standards while balancing other life responsibilities. Congratulations […]

PEP Open Letter

Dear Friends, Colleagues, and Community Partners: The Washington University in St. Louis Prison Education Project (PEP) stands with the Black community, the Black Lives Matter movement, and those who are protesting against recent and recurring acts of racial injustice and violence. In doing so, we acknowledge the pain, anger, and frustration that members of these […]

Graduation Announcement: Jameel Spann

Please join us in celebrating Jameel Spann’s graduation! Jameel is a PEP alumnus who graduated with a B.S. in Integrated Studies from Washington University in St. Louis this month. He took classes in the Washington University Prison Education Project during its nascent stages and now works for the Alliance for Higher Education in Prison, a national nonprofit […]

Graduating Students

Congratulations to all of the graduating students who have worked with PEP during their time at WashU! There are no words to thank you for your continued support, tireless efforts, and steadfast dedication to the program, and we wish we could have celebrated with you in person. Best of luck with your future endeavors! We have no doubt […]

Faculty Spotlight: David Cunningham

Shortly after arriving at Washington University in 2015 to take up a position in the newly revived Sociology department, David Cunningham met Maggie Garb by chance at a friend’s backyard barbecue. Garb, a professor in the History department, had spent much of the previous two years getting the Prison Education Project (PEP) off the ground […]

PEP Writing Tutor Wins Truman Scholarship

 Video: Tom Malkowicz/Washington University The Prison Education Project (PEP) is excited to announce that one of our writing tutors, Max Klapow, has been selected as a recipient of the prestigious Truman scholarship, a graduate fellowship for college students pursuing careers as public service leaders. In Fall 2019, Max served as a writing tutor for […]

Petition for Compassionate Release

In light of the global COVID-19 pandemic and its disastrous impact on incarcerated populations (so far 44 people incarcerated in the Missouri Department of Corrections have tested positive for COVID-19, and there has been 1 death), the Prison Education Project (PEP) Executive Board sent a letter to Governor Parson calling for the compassionate release of […]

PEP Seeking Practicum Student

The Washington University Prison Education Project (PEP) is currently seeking a MSW practicum student for fall 2020. Please see below for the complete job description. To apply, please submit a cover letter and resume to Abaki Beck ( by Friday, April 17th.   Practicum Position: Prison Education Project, Alumni ProgramReentry Case Management – Fall 2020 […]

PEP Film Screening & Panel Discussion

****Edit: This event was canceled due to the current public health crisis and will likely be rescheduled for the fall semester. Thank you to everyone who shared the event and was planning on attending, and we hope to be in touch soon regarding rescheduling.**** Mark your calendars for Wednesday, March 18! The Washington University Prison […]