By ANDREW LORD
Cornell contributed 41 graduates to the 2014 Teach For America corps this semester, making it a top contributing school for the seventh consecutive year, TFA announced last month.
The organization partners with communities to increase educational opportunities for children in poverty, and recruits make a two-year commitment to teach in high-need classrooms around the country, according to a press release. This year, Cornell ranked the eighth highest contributor of TFA corps among colleges and universities of its size.
The 41 Cornellians join the most diverse group of corps in the organization’s 25-year history, according to TFA. This year, 22 percent of corps identify as African American, 13 percent identify as Latino and six percent identify as Asian American or Pacific Islander.
The University is among the few in the nation to have sent graduates to the TFA corps every year since the organization’s founding in 1990, according to TFA.
Katelyn Fletcher ’15 — who was accepted into the TFA corps through the early application program last year — said the organization’s mission “really resonated’ with her.
“I started learning about the [TFA] program because of its goal to help all children gain access to a quality education,” she said.
Applicants should explore the misfortunes of “educational inequality” in order to develop the passion that TFA is looking for in its recruits, according to Fletcher.
“What’s especially important is learning as much as you can about the issue before making an informed decision as to what role you can play,” she said. “This will help you find what you believe will create lasting change in our country.”
TFA recruitment officer Nick Diaz ’10 said he understands the special connection between Teach for America and Cornell.
“Teach For America is all about how you can change America for the better through the power of education,” he said. “And, on a campus, that is structured around both leadership and service.”
The highly selective program seeks to recruit top college graduates and professionals in the nation, according to TFA. In 2014, the organization accepted only 15 percent of more than 50,000 applicants.
Still, Diaz said he encourages Cornellians who are passionate about social justice and educational equality to apply to work for TFA.
“Don’t be afraid to get off the Hill and really work with the local community,” Diaz said. “There are endless opportunities around Ithaca to get involved and make a difference.”
Jeremy Freeman ’15, another TFA recruit, applied to the program with the intention to “spread the good word.” Freeman said he encourages future applicants to do the same by pursuing their philanthropic interests and developing a passion for education.
“Learn to love learning and you’ll eventually want to teach,” he said.
The application process consists of an initial online application, a series of interviews and a possible “role-play” scenario such as a mock teaching lesson, according to TFA.