Against all odds! 15 Years in Prison for Drug Trafficking Scraped into Stanford University

Jason Spyres, 39, majored in computer science at Stanford University

Khan Academy founder and CEO Salman ‘Sal’ Khan told reporters that the year before last, he spoke at Stanford University and, during the final question-and-answer period, heard a student tearfully share his story about learning on his own through online resources. Jason Spyres is not only older than the average college student, but also has a special experience, and for many years his code name was “Mr. K99397”. He entered Stanford as a transfer student in 2018, just one year after he completed a 15-year prison sentence for marijuana trafficking. While in prison, because there was no Internet access, Spells’ mother sent him captioned paperbacks downloaded from Khan Academy films, and he began practicing math by looking at the text.

After completing his sentence, he continued to use the Khan Academy textbook films, including resources related to the U.S. Standardized Test SAT, and scored well on the test.

“Learning from those easy-to-understand films, not having to admit I was stupid because I didn’t understand, not having to be shy about having to ask people,” Spears said after hearing Khan speak, expressing his gratitude publicly.

This is an example of a painful change of heart and a self-seeking resource. “The Stanford Review has reported that Spears came from a difficult Family with drug-addicted Parents. He started dealing drugs in high school and eventually went to prison.

While Spears was in prison in Illinois, he saw a television interview with a Stanford admissions officer who said “colleges are particularly impressed by students who can achieve a lot with very little.

“With only a pen, a notebook, a few stamps and a prison library card, he devised a reading plan, borrowing a table in a corner of the prison every morning and studying on his own for six hours a day, six days a week.

The first books he borrowed from the prison library were economics, followed by physics, organic chemistry, and calculus. “After I learned calculus, I became confident that I could go back and read physics again; I didn’t have a computer, so I did all my calculations with pencil and paper.

His goal at the Time was to attend community college before transferring to a four-year university after his release from prison.

Spells, 39, is a senior majoring in computer engineering, according to Stanford’s campus news website. Last year, a public service fellowship allowed him to work with the nonprofit Prison Scholar Fund to encourage and help more of his peers to bravely pursue a college Education.

“If you are disenfranchised, whether it’s because of a felony, poverty or being a minority, I implore you not to give up hope.” He said, “Follow your Dreams as if nothing in this world can stop you.”