Teach for America recruiting all students

Kathy Andrusisin
October 03, 2018

Penn State is one of the top contributing schools to the Teach for America program, and last year, the College of the Liberal Arts had the most hires of any other college at the University. Seniors and graduates of all majors and backgrounds are welcome to apply before the Oct. 17 deadline.

Teach for America (TFA) is an organization that utilizes leadership to create the opportunity for all children in the United States to access excellent education. TFA corps members are assigned to work in one of 51 communities across the U.S. for a two-year commitment.

Emma Kesidis and Kylie Doran are first-year teachers this fall and members of the 2018 Teach for America cohort. The cohort recently completed summer training required of all first-year TFA members in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Emma Kesidis, an avid writer, majored in mathematics at Penn State and applied to TFA because “too many kids in this country today aren’t getting the education they deserve.” Kesidis is teaching geometry and pre-calculus at Lakeside High School in Arkansas and is most looking forward to watching her students at football games, grading large stacks of homework, attending pep rallies this fall and using paint in her geometry classes to learn about reflections.

Kesidis leaves Penn State students interested in applying to Teach for America with the following advice: “Do it! It's intense, and really hard sometimes, but it is already the most rewarding thing I've ever done.”

Kylie Doran double-majored in anthropology and Russian and minored in history and Arabic at Penn State. She helped found the Student Society for Indigenous Knowledge and served as a site leader for Penn State Alternative Breaks for three years. She now teaches math and social studies to middle school students at Pahin Sinte Owayawa (Porcupine Day School) on the Pine Ridge Reservation in the poorest county in America in Porcupine, South Dakota. Pahin Sinte Owayawa is a culturally focused school, that teaches Lakota language as one of the students’ core classes. Students and faculty also “smudge (spiritual cleansing) themselves and the school every day by burning sage, say Lakota prayers in the morning and sing the Lakota flag song every morning instead of the pledge of allegiance.”

Doran tells applicants to “think very critically about why you are applying as TFA is big on knowing your personal ‘why’ and how it relates to your identity and your experiences in life.” Doran believes it is important for applicants to consider how they align with Teach for America’s values, which are: pursue equity, strengthen community, achieve impact, choose courage, act with humility, demonstrate resilience, and learn continuously.

Katie Wysocki, the assistant director of the Liberal Arts Career Enrichment Network, advises students wishing to apply to Teach for America “to connect directly with the Penn State Teach for America recruiter as the person in this position is always very supportive of guiding our students in the application process, giving tips on what to do, deadlines, and great advice.”

Seniors and graduates of all majors and backgrounds are welcome to apply before the Oct. 17 deadline. For more information, contact the Teach for America Ambassadors available on campus or visit https://www.teachforamerica.org/.

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Last Updated October 04, 2018