Left row, back to front: Lucia Berliner ’12, Alaria Pizzo ’11, MAT’12 and Tim Carter ’12. Right row, back to front: Kristen Kush ’12, Gideon Porter ’12, Chrarlotte Lysohir ’12 and Kevin Kent ’12.
The admittance process for the Teach for America program has been described by The New York Times as competitively on par with being accepted to an Ivy League Graduate program. So it was with special pride that the Colleges announced that seven students from the Classes of 2012 have been accepted into the program. They will venture across the country to public schools affected by high poverty rates and in need of compassionate and dedicated educators.
Lucia Berliner ’12, a psychology and media and society double major, will teach kindergarten in Arkansas. Introduced to Teach for America’s programs last summer, she was drawn to the organization’s mission. “I’ve always spent my summers working with young children,” she says. “Although I had never planned to go into education, this seemed like a great way to make a real impact straight out of college. I’m looking forward to gaining an understanding of a new part of our country – the lives that people live, the challenges they face, hobbies, dreams, landscapes, the ecosystem – all of it!”
Tim Carter ’12, an English and philosophy double major, will teach high school English in Tulsa, Okla. A member of the HWS Teacher Certification program, he now holds a NY State High School certification in English. “Coming from an education background, I was looking for a post-graduate opportunity in my field,” he says. “Teach for America was an opportunity that looked to be both very challenging and personally rewarding.” Following his two-year commitment, Carter hopes to pursue a master’s and doctorate degree in poetry.
Kevin Kent ’12, an urban studies major, will head to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas to teach secondary special education. “I am very interested in going into educational policy so in doing Teach for America, I’m hoping to gain some “real world” experience before I try to tackle educational issues on a larger scale.” Following his time with Teach for America, Kent hopes to pursue a career in some facet of education – either as a teacher or a position that incorporates education policy and policy reform.
Kristen Kush ’12, a chemistry major, will teach high school chemistry in the Newark, N.J. area. For Kush, the decision to join Teach for America was a natural bonding of her love of chemistry and her passion for helping others to learn. “I have heard so many stories from Teach for America alums who have said that they learned just as much from their students as they believe they taught,” says Kush. “I want to get my students really excited for chemistry – and then see them succeed in the subject. I hope to know what it means to make a difference in the lives of students facing the achievement gap.”
Charlotte Lysohir ’12, an urban studies and sociology double major, will be teaching early childhood education in the D.C. Metro area. “At HWS, I’ve studied and learned much about social inequity and crisis; eventually I realized a pattern emerging – many, if not all, of these social ills seem to stem from a lack of education. I decided I had to be a part of the solution,” explains Lysohir. Last summer, Lysohir also had the opportunity to work with several Teach for America alums at the Harlem Village Academies in NYC. Part of her duties as an intern and assistant coordinator allowed her to speak with her supervisors about their experiences. “Once I realized what an integral part of their professional and personal lives Teach for America had been, I was convinced it was a mission I wanted to be part of,” she says.
Alaria Pizzo ’11, MAT ’12 is headed to New York City. She earned her bachelor’s in English, and has stayed on at the Colleges to earn her NYS certification for Secondary English Education. “After many years observing master teachers and learning about teaching, I cannot wait to finally be in the classroom,” says Pizzo. “I hope to walk away from Teach for America feeling confident that I impacted the lives of my students in some way, to help them explore their abilities in new and meaningful ways.”
Gideon Porter ’12, a political science major, has been placed in Kansas City, Missouri, where he will be teaching special education. “I have a strong belief that one’s zip code should not dictate the quality of education our students across the country receive,” explains Porter. “Education plays a fundamental role in our society and I believe the disparities that exist are morally wrong. Teach for America says loudly: “we can change this.” It is a great organization that I really wanted to be part of.”