Wellesley Has 21 Graduates in Teach for America for 2012-13

October 5, 2012

Teach For America recently released its annual ranking of the colleges and universities contributing the greatest number of graduates to its 2012 teaching corps. Wellesley College ranks highest among small schools (fewer than 2,999 per graduating class) with 21 graduates joining the corps. Wellesley has been among the top contributors since the list was first released in 2008.

One of Wellesley’s 21 is Erica Saldivar ’12, now a Teach for America Greater Philadelphia corps member. The Spanish and economics major said, “I found that Teach for America’s mission of changing the educational outcome of children in the low-income communities of urban America is a nonconventional but perfect starting point for me.” While teaching she is simultaneously completing a master’s degree in education at the University of Pennsylvania.

Teach For America corps members are top college graduates and professionals who commit to teach for two years in urban and rural public schools and become lifelong leaders in the pursuit of educational opportunity for all students. Teach For America recruits on more than 600 college campuses, seeking seniors and graduates from all academic majors and backgrounds who have demonstrated achievement, perseverance, and leadership.

Saldivar said that choosing what to do after graduation was a far-from-easy decision. “A lot of my peers are well on their way to leading multibillion-dollar deals on Wall Street, others are preparing themselves to be successful lawyers, doctors, chemists, politicians, and archeologists…I have no doubt that indeed they will change the world. Like them, I have long-term goals and seek to one day contribute to a large change in the world that could be recognized by a Nobel Peace Prize—we can all dream.”

Saldivar is not alone in her ideals and efforts. This fall marks the first time more than 10,000 first- and second-year corps members will be teaching in high-need classrooms, representing a 10 percent increase over last year’s total corps size. The 5,800 first-year corps members earned an average GPA of 3.54 and represent more than 1,500 colleges and universities across the nation.

“We are grateful to the outstanding colleges and universities that cultivate graduates with the leadership skills and determination to address one of our nation’s greatest injustices, the disparity in educational opportunity between children in low-income communities and their wealthier peers,” said Wendy Kopp, chief executive officer and founder of Teach For America. “These corps members bring a diversity of experiences and accomplishments to the classroom, and they all share a powerful commitment to work toward solving this problem.”

Most Graduates in Teach for America Corps

Following are the three colleges or universities contributing the highest number of graduates to the 2012 corps in each of the three school-size categories (as defined by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching):

Small Schools

  • Wellesley College (21 graduates to serve in the 2012 teaching corps)
  • DePauw University (19)/ Amherst College (19)
  • Colorado College (18)/ Denison University (18)

Medium-Sized Schools

  • Northwestern University (63)
  • Harvard University (62)
  • Georgetown University (61)

Large Schools

  • University of California-Berkeley (88)
  • University of Florida (78)
  • University of California-Los Angeles (75)