Host Site: Breakthrough Providence
Where did you go to school?
I recently graduated from Brown University, where I studied English and Linguistics.
What are your personal and professional interests?
After my VISTA term, I’m planning to go back to Brown for my Master of Arts in Teaching, focusing on secondary English. I’m interested in issues of culturally responsive teaching, educational equity, and social justice pedagogy. Otherwise, I practice and teach taekwondo, and also enjoy reading and cooking.
If you could have any super power, what would it be?
Definitely teleportation! Being able to pop anywhere in the world in a split-second would be both incredibly useful and immensely fun.
Tell us your Story of Service (300 – 500 words). Why did you choose to serve? How do you think you are impacting poverty?
I had actually worked at Breakthrough for two years before beginning my term as the Students Teaching Students Institute Coordinator. In summer 2014 and summer 2015, I taught eighth grade English to students from Providence Public Schools, and loved immersing myself in Breakthrough Providence’s educational philosophy. I knew that I didn’t want to go directly into graduate school, and doing a year of service at Breakthrough seemed like a great fit. When I chose to serve, I was excited to gain new skills while working for an organization I deeply respect, and also to contribute to the larger mission of AmeriCorps VISTA.
Breakthrough Providence has a dual mission: to create a pathway to college for low-income, academically-motivated middle school students in Providence Public Schools, and to encourage talented high school and college students to pursue careers in education. As the Students Teaching Students Institute Coordinator, I work on our expanded impact initiatives. Some of my projects include a credit-bearing initiative through which the high school and college-aged students who teach with us can get school credit for the work that they do, offering professional development to other organizations and schools, and convening a network of educators to discuss ways to incorporate the Movement for Black Lives into our work.
Since my work all points towards a larger goal of diversifying the teacher pipeline in Rhode Island, I do feel that my role can impact impoverty. By enabling high school and college students to get academic credit for the work they do with Breakthrough, it is more likely these students – a number of whom are low-income students of color and the first in their family to go to college, like the middle school students we serve – will graduate and pursue further educational opportunities. We hope that our high school and college-aged teachers are interested in working in education for the long term, and will return to the classroom to inspire others to follow in their footsteps. Additionally, by offering professional development and facilitating a network of teacher-activists, we hope to shift the educational landscape towards a more culturally competent, equitable system. I have very much enjoyed working as a RICC VISTA at Breakthrough thus far, and look forward to the rest of my year of service!