UCF Alumnus Speaks up For Underprivileged Youth

Some choose the University of Central Florida because of the location. Others choose UCF because of the amazing Greek life and extracurricular activities. But this month’s Political Science Outstanding Alumnus chose UCF because he needed a broader understanding of the exact tools needed to go back and help his economically depressed community.

Codeye Woody spent his time at UCF working hard in classes and volunteering his time to read to underprivileged children living in Parramore. This gave him the opportunity to study and understand economically challenged areas in bigger metropolitan cities.

One of Woody’s most memorable moments came from a challenge he received from a professor. This challenge helped drive Woody and teach him the skills necessary to help his community.

“My greatest memory of at the University of Central Florida was my experience with a homework assignment given to me in a Public Policy class,” Woody said. “The ability to challenge my thoughts while teaching me how and why it is important to provide alternatives on any issue has helped me tremendously advocate the State Legislature and Congress on behalf the superintendent and School Board.”

Woody’s graduate degree in political science opened many doors to success. One such path gave Woody the opportunity to work as a Staff Assistant in the U.S. House of Representatives were he gave support to the congressional member and legislative staff, oversaw legislative bills, constituent outreach and office operations.

He currently serves as Director of Legislative and Congressional Relations for Orange County Public Schools. This job means the world to him because he can make a difference in the underdeveloped areas of cities that he strives to help before attending UCF.

“The Political Science program has taught me more about the history of government, party ideologies in America and the legislative process, in which I continue to use every day while advocating for children in our Orange County Public Schools,” Woody explained.

His favorite thing about this job is the ability to be a voice for the children. Many underprivileged youth do not have a say in what happens with their education and must deal with the situation they are placed in. Woody enjoys educating government officials and agencies on public policy concerns and the legislative needs of school districts to focus on achievement.

“The most memorable experience on my job was when a colleague and I were giving the superintendent and school board members the 2017 Legislative Update after Special Session,” Woody said. “After completing the legislative break down of each bill, I was told by the Superintendent and School Board members that I did an excellent job, which created a sigh of relief. I will never forget my first time making a real difference.”

Woody strives to improve the community and suggests that everyone has the power to help and get involved. He wants to challenge UCF students and alumni to stay optimistic about the world and if you don’t make it a better place then no one will.

“Serve as a mentor to someone who needs it,” Woody said. “Volunteer when you can. Sit on the board of advisers for a community group or nonprofit organization and make charitable contributions to a nonprofit organization you relate to.”

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