Redmond resident to fulfill childhood dream next year at Oxford

This fall, Stephanie Malaska will see one of her childhood dreams come true.

Redmond resident Stephanie Malaska will be attending the University of Oxford next year. She has wanted to go to the England school since she was in eighth-grade.

Redmond resident Stephanie Malaska will be attending the University of Oxford next year. She has wanted to go to the England school since she was in eighth-grade.

This fall, Stephanie Malaska will see one of her childhood dreams come true.

She will be in England for about nine months and while many kids’ dreams of traveling abroad involve fame and fortune, the 19-year-old Redmond native’s ambitions lean more toward the academic.

“I’d wanted to go to (the University of) Oxford since I was in eighth-grade,” Malaska said. “I was the nerdy kid that had the campus as my screensaver.”

From mid October to mid June, not only will she be able to see campus for real, but Malaska will also be experiencing campus life at Oxford. She will be attending the prestigious university as part of the Institute for Study Abroad, Butler University (IFSA-Butler) program at Butler University in Indianapolis.

Malaska attended The Bear Creek School from fourth- to ninth-grade and transferred to Eastside Catholic High School, which she graduated from in 2009. She is currently a student at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va. but is doing her study abroad through a different school because IFSA-Butler works with many different colleges and universities nationwide and provides a full-immersion academic program.

“They do a great job of integrating you, which was exactly what I was looking for,” she said.

Malaska will be enrolled at Oxford with other students at the school. In addition to attending lectures, she will be living in campus housing and will even be able to participate in school sports and clubs. Malaska hopes to participate in the school’s equestrian team, the Oxford University Riding Club.

At Washington and Lee, Malaska is majoring in politics and at least minoring in philosophy but has also been taking many physics classes in hopes to petition for a full physics major as well. When she gets to Oxford, she is planning to study politics and philosophy.

Malaska wasn’t sure about studying physics in college, so she has had to play the catch-up game, but she has enjoyed the subject since her first course in high school.

Bob Severson met Malaska when she was a student in his Advanced Placement physics class at Eastside Catholic. He said when he met her, he saw that physics ideas resonated with her, adding that her infectious and creative sense of humor would carry her to unusual ideas regarding concepts learned in class.

“For instance, as we learned about acceleration and the force of gravity, Stephanie would wonder what it would feel like to move at nearly the speed of light near the surface of a neutron star,” Severson said. “At first I worried that her exhuberance would stand in the way of successfully mastering physics principles, but later I saw that this was an outlet for her pure joy of learning.”

Severson, who has been teaching at Eastside Catholic for six years, said Malaska is also interested in applied physics and takes the opportunity to learn new things, even outside of school. When he learned about her attending Oxford, Severson was extremely proud.

“I am happy for her beyond words,” he said. “I hope that Stephanie will bring her zaney sense of humor to every new learning environment.”

Despite her dream of attending Oxford, Malaska is nervous about being in a new learning environment. She will be assigned personal tutors and meet with them and turn her work into them. Malaska said this learning style allows her to be more independent and she will be able to learn at her own pace. However, more will be expected of her and she is a little worried about the level of academic rigor.

While Malaska has concerns about being successful at Oxford, Eastside Catholic AP English teacher Gary Stein has no such worries. Malaska was enrolled in two of his AP English classes at Eastside Catholic, and Stein was very impressed.

“As a sophomore both her written work and the depth of her thinking were remarkable,” he said. “Easily the equal to the college students that I had previously taught at the University of Michigan.”

Because he knows how dedicated of a student Malaska is, Stein’s advice for her is to make the most of her experience abroad and travel.

And Malaska fully intends to. She said some of her friends will be studying abroad around Europe and hopes to visit them, adding that she would really like to go to France. She said her French is “decent” and would like to be in a place where she could use it.

“I’m really excited,” Malaska said about her trip as a whole.

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

King County weather: Dec. 3-5

Here is your King County area weather forecast for Dec. 3-5, 2021.… Continue reading

Keith Wagoner
Senator becomes first GOP candidate for secretary of state

Sen. Keith Wagoner will challenge Democrat Steve Hobbs, who was appointed to the statewide post in November

The Federal Way Performing Arts and Event Center is located at 31510 Pete von Reichbauer Way S. Olivia Sullivan/the Mirror
FEMA to send mobile COVID-19 vaccination unit to Western Washington

The mobile site is set to open Dec. 20 in Federal Way; additional locations to come.

Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Washington health officials discuss response to new COVID variant

Things will be handled with Omicron variant similar to the Delta variant.

Aftermath of crash at intersection of NE Woodinville Duvall Road and West Snoqualmie Valley Road (Screenshot from King County Sheriff's Office Facebook account)
Teen walks away from horrible crash in rural East King County

First responders found the overturned and crushed vehicle abandoned near Duvall.

File photo
As new COVID-19 variant looms, vaccination disparities linger in King County

County data shows gaps among age, geography and race.

King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn
King County Councilmember Dunn will challenge Rep. Kim Schrier for U.S. Congress seat

The current County Councilmember would be following in his late mother’s footsteps

Redmond Mayor Angela Birney (center) cuts the ceremonial ribbon (courtesy of City of Redmond)
Newly renovated Westside Park now open to public

The park includes new amenities such as walking trails, sports courts and a zip line.

Garbage at the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill in Maple Valley. FILE PHOTO
King County and Port of Seattle to collaborate on waste-to-fuel study

The study is aimed at identifying logistics of developing aviation fuel out of municipal garbage.

Most Read