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Sixteen Northwestern students to join Teach for America

Students desire to use education to level the playing field for all communities

  • Students to serve areas including Chicago, New York and Idaho
  • Northwestern continues to be a top contributor to TFA corps
  • TFA recruiter: Northwestern students are “driven by plans for social justice in the long term”

EVANSTON - Sixteen seniors in Northwestern University’s class of 2017 will join Teach for America after graduation, bringing high-quality education to students most in need around the country.

Northwestern’s corps members will commit the next two years to teaching low-income urban and rural public school students in states from New York to Idaho. Among their reasons for applying, several Northwestern recruits cited their desire to level the playing field for underserved communities.

Northwestern students not only are service driven, but they’re driven by plans for social justice in the long term.

Isabelle Shanafelt
TFA recruitment manager

“I applied for TFA with the hope that it would help me harness a deeper understanding of the oppressive systems that obstruct so many people’s paths to reaching their fullest potential,” said Caroline Gold, who will teach in the New York area.

“The organization’s deeply held belief that one day all children will have access to an incredible education really resonated with me, and I’m looking forward to playing a part in making that vision a reality,” she said.

Sarah Rappaport, who will teach in Washington, said, “I applied for TFA because I want to work with communities that are underrepresented in the STEM fields. As a woman in engineering, I know how unfriendly the fields of science and mathematics can be for women and minorities, and I want to find a way to promote inclusivity in these disciplines for those who are often systematically excluded.”

This year, 48,000 students from around the country applied to Teach for America. Northwestern has been a top contributor to the highly competitive program ever since the organization began tracking data in 2008.

“Northwestern students not only are service driven, but they’re driven by plans for social justice in the long term,” TFA recruitment manager Isabelle Shanafelt said, citing this year’s recruits’ plans to continue promoting equity in their careers after TFA. “That is essential for the TFA mission. Equity doesn’t just happen in two years in the classroom. It has to be part of a larger movement.”

Since TFA was founded in 1990, 585 Northwestern graduates have taught as corps members. They are part of a diverse network of 53,000 TFA alumni dedicated to creating change in education and beyond.

TFA believes education can disrupt social inequality by opening doors of opportunity. The organization believes a great education has the ability to empower students and transform life outcomes. TFA trains corps members to become lifelong influencers in the fight for equity.

Teach for America recruits undergo extensive training before entering their assigned schools. The new teachers spend five weeks at an intensive summer training institute before attending regional trainings near the communities they will serve as well as independent training.

“The United States invests a grossly inadequate amount of attention and resources into our highly-stratified public school system,” 2017 Northwestern recruit Will Corvin said. “My home state of California is plagued with widespread teacher shortages, which is why I am proud to be joining TFA in the Bay Area to fulfill a need in the community that raised me.”

The following is a list of Northwestern’s 2017 TFA corps members and the places they will serve:

  • Leigha Banks – Massachusetts
  • Juliana Bond – New York
  • Will Corvin – San Francisco Bay Area
  • Chris Erikson – Massachusetts
  • Adam Farsheed – Washington
  • Stephanie Fox – New York
  • Caroline Gold – New York
  • Michael Hamburger – Idaho
  • Parker Kobayashi – California Capital Valley
  • Tess Levin – Chicago/northwest Indiana
  • Etan Manasse-Piha – New York
  • Eric Oringer – New Jersey
  • Sarah Rappaport – Washington
  • Kaitlin Shedd – Chicago/northwest Indiana
  • Matt Wuest – Greater Philadelphia
  • Kristina Zhang – Memphis
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