By Andrea Brown
LYNNWOOD — Lazarus Hart started college at age 30, envisioning classrooms and term papers.
Instead, the Edmonds Community College student’s coursework included cataloging artifacts on archaeological digs at Little Swamp Creek near Kenmore and monitoring salmon at Japanese Gulch in Mukilteo.
“We’d put on waders in the stream,” said Hart, 32, who became a paid leader of students on the project. “We would look for salmon, count the ones we found. If there were salmon carcasses, we’d see if they’d spawned yet.”
Hart, vice president of the college’s Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, is among the state’s top scholars who represent Washington’s 34 community and technical colleges as members of the All-Washington Academic Team.
Hart and the others have been honored by Gov. Jay Inslee.
Anthropology instructor Tom Murphy nominated Hart.
“Lazarus stood out as an exemplar of what a community college is all about,” Murphy said. “Lazarus was a deeply engaged student, therefore not just learning but for making a difference in the community.”
Murphy spearheaded the seven-year project monitoring fish, wildlife and water quality. Hart contributed to a recently released 64-page report titled “Repatriating Salmon to Point Elliot.”
Hart moved to Washington as a teen from South Carolina.
“I did security for a number of years. I was working for Harborview Medical Center, where UW has some of their officers,” Hart said. “I initially wanted to go back to school for pathology.”
After taking anthropology, Hart considered forensic anthropology.
“The more I got into it I wanted a broader scope. Rather than figuring out why people died, actually helping living people,” Hart said. “I am hoping to go to the medical anthropology program at UW and then I would be looking at marginalized communities and how to better serve their health needs.”
Hart would like to eventually get a doctorate.
Outside of school, Hart is the board director of Orchid Counseling Services, a syringe services volunteer with the Hepatitis Education Project, and a volunteer for Sex Workers Outreach Project Seattle and Safe Night Access Project Seattle.
Other student honorees
Everett Community College students Shirley Baughn and Mirei Maejima also were selected for the 2019 All-Washington Academic Team.
Baughn, 40, of Marysville, decided to study criminal justice after she took a job in security. She’d previously worked for two decades in culinary arts. She works nights full-time as a security supervisor. Baughn was born in the Philippines and came to the United States eight years ago.
Maejima, 20, of Everett, wants to start her own company to help students who are being bullied, including creating a cafe for people who are learning English and other languages. Maejima, who is from Japan, is a student ambassador in the campus Student LIFE office.