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Teach for America hosts information session for future applicants at UMass

Teach for America (TFA) will be hosting an information session for prospective applicants on Oct. 28 at 6:30 p.m. at the University of Massachusetts.

The event will be held in the Malcolm X Cultural Center, located in the basement of the Berkshire Dining Commons. The event is co-sponsored by Teach For America, the Malcolm X Cultural Center and the Collegiate Education of Black and other Minority Students (CCEBMS) office.

The information session will feature guest speaker Leigh Bonner, a 2006 corps member. Leigh taught middle school math and science in Harlem, New York City, N.Y. She will speak about her experience with TFA and answer any questions prospective students may have.

“I believed this idea that if two people make the same choices, work equally as hard, that they will have the same opportunities,” said Bonner. “Education is intended to be the lever for upward mobility and the great equalizer.”

“Unfortunately, the reality is that a students’ educational prospects are determined by where they are born,” added Bonner. “There are 14 million children in the US growing up in poverty whose life prospects are incredibly limited by their academic opportunities. Teach For America was a way for me to contribute to the solution for this problem.”

TFA is a program that recruits at universities all across the United States, placing college graduates in two-year teaching positions in low-income school systems throughout the nation.

The program’s goal is to eliminate the inequity gap that is said to be plaguing our nation’s school systems, while at the same time enlisting corps members who will become the leaders of tomorrow.

TFA places their corps members in classrooms teaching subjects within the K-12 teaching level. The program seeks soon-to-be graduates looking to make a difference in America.

TFA helps corps members work on their leadership skills in a fast-paced work environment right out of college. Program alums go on to work for leading employers and attend top graduate schools across the country.

The program provides a support system throughout the teaching experience, granting a full support staff in the location of a corps member’s field teaching as well as assistance obtaining a job once the program concludes. The program also provides full salary and benefits to graduates directly out of college.

Applicants come from all academic backgrounds and do not need prior teaching experience. All students are encouraged to apply.

Over 24,000 corps members have passed through TFA since its founding, affecting the lives of over three million students in America. TFA currently has job placements in thirty-five urban and rural areas across the country.

Kelly Quinn, a senior at UMass and the campus campaign coordinator for TFA is helping plan the event.

“Wednesday’s information session will be a great way to learn about a job opportunity that truly makes an impact in the lives of thousands of children,” said Quinn. “I would encourage UMass students to come learn about the different career and financial benefits of Teach For America.”

Applying for TFA is a three-part process, consisting of an online application, a 30-minute phone interview, and a full day in-person interview.

The next TFA application deadline is Jan. 8, 2010. Applications can be found online at TeachforAmerica.org.

The information is located in the Malcolm X Cultural Center in the basement of the Berkshire Dining Commons, and is accessible by walking to the side of the building. Bruno’s Pizza and refreshments will be served.

Vincent Capone can be reached at vcapone@student.umass.edu.

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