Wellesley Leads Small College Contributors to Teach for America Corps
20 Class of 2013 Graduates Have Entered the Teaching Ranks Through TFA
This school year, 20 members of Wellesley’s Class of 2013 are standing in front of the classroom for the first time as teachers with the Teach for America (TFA) corps. This number of alumnae makes Wellesley the second highest contributor among small colleges who send graduates to serve in the nation’s underserved districts through TFA.
Founded in 1990, Teach for America works in partnership with communities to expand educational opportunity for children facing the challenges of poverty. The nonprofit organization recruits and develops a diverse corps of well-qualified individuals from many academic disciplines to commit two years to teach in high-need schools, with the goal of forming lifelong leaders in the movement to end educational inequity. According to a 2005 alumni study, 72% of TFA alumni remain in the education field after their experience.
TFA corps members work as full-time teachers, receiving the same salary and health benefits as other beginning teachers in their school districts. During their two years, the teachers receive additional support and training from the organization as well as assistance with loans and travel expenses. This fall, with 5,900 new TFA members, a total of 11,000 teachers now serve in 48 urban and rural regions across the country.
In addition to the many Wellesley women who pursue teaching careers through other (traditional or alternative) routes, the high number of alumnae who enter the TFA corps have consistently placed Wellesley at the top of its category for contributing institutions, along with fellow women’s college Spelman College.
Jessica Camacho ’13 is one of this year’s TFA corps members. Camacho majored in American studies with a focus on education and minored in psychology, and completed several internships with educational organizations and policy groups throughout her time at Wellesley. These combined experiences gave her a clear perspective on what kind of teaching opportunity she was looking for. “I did not want to be staring at a computer screen reading education statistics,” she said. “Instead I wanted to be in the classroom and experiencing what those numbers try to tell us. TFA allows me to do just that immediately after college.”
The Orange County, Calif., native was placed in Phoenix, Ariz., where she teaches third grade at a charter elementary school in a predominantly Latino community. “We just finished up a math unit on place value and I found it surprisingly fun to teach math, which I didn't think I'd enjoy as much,” said Camacho. She has also enjoyed the support of her fellow teachers, the eagerness of her students to learn and the opportunity to speak with parents in Spanish, all of which feed the excitement she has coming into work every day, despite working from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. After one month of teaching, Camacho said, “I am exactly where I need to be.”
Wellesley ’13 Alumnae in the Teach For America Corps
- Atlanta: Kara Yun
- Bay Area: Patricia Suquilanda
- Greater Boston: Caroline Dodge
- Chicago: Hilary Gross
- Dallas: Julie Kubelka
- Detroit: Carla Villarreal
- Greater New Orleans: Cobren Greer and Cassady Rosenblum
- Houston: Eden Bass and Sarah Rabourn
- Jacksonville: Christianne Wolfsen
- Las Vegas: Alina Zalucki and Lucy Swenson
- Miami-Dade: Kara Lungmus and Elena Bowen
- Newark: Samira Pigford and Madeleine Whitaker
- New York City: Cabrina Kang and Raissa Antwi
- Phoenix: Jessica Camacho
- Tulsa: Karina Chung
- Washington, D.C.: Kathleen Tam