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'I'll always be a work in progress'

By Joshua Budik '21
With Julie Riddle '92

I come from a broken family – my mother struggled a lot, and I didn't really know my father. I moved a lot. I went to around 26 schools. So there was no stability and I didn't really agree with the lifestyle. But being a kid, you're kind of stuck.

All that instability led to low-paying jobs. I worked a lot of construction. I was an iron worker and I worked in a foundry, pouring molten metal, for almost 10 years. I never thought I would pursue anything in academia or be a college graduate.

Then I got a phone call from the state and ended up adopting my niece and nephew. I brought them home as infants from the hospital. I wanted to give them as many chances as possible. I was looking at my life and I'm like, "Man, I'm working general labor, I'm busting my butt and breaking my body. What can I do?" And that's when I came across Whitworth.

After a shift one day, I went to Whitworth and signed up [in the School of Continuing Studies]. We were looking at a five-year plan to get my B.A. degree, and I told myself that date was going to come one way or another: I'm either going to have that experience and education or not.

I initially went in for an organizational management degree, to make myself more marketable. But then I started getting sucked into the mind and heart part of things and I switched to human services. The biggest challenge was putting my focus where it needed to be – work, school, homework, raising kids. I took one class at a time and just stuck with it.

I started working for Catholic Charities Eastern Washington, first in case management, then property management. I'm now regional operations manager, overseeing 14 sites in downtown Spokane that provide housing for individuals and families who are homeless.

Going to Whitworth showed me what vocation is and helped me find my worth and value. And it led me to apply to graduate schools to earn a master's in marriage and family therapy. My intention is to become a licensed counselor. I've been exposed to some really positive people who helped me, and I want to expose people to another side of life and help them understand that their value isn't based on their surroundings.

I'm still growing and will always be learning. I'll always be a work in progress.

Learn more about Whitworth's flexible adult education options at


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Lifelong learner and teacher

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