Michigan graduates well represented in Teach for America

By Katie Burke, Daily News Editor
and Will Greenberg, Daily Staff Reporter
Published September 3, 2013

The University had the fourth largest contribution of graduating seniors to the Teach for America program among large schools in 2013, according to the organization.

Sixty-seven graduates of the University’s class of 2013 recently started work in the two-year volunteer program, which gives college graduates the opportunity to work with students in low-income areas that often have struggling schools. This year, more than 11,000 volunteers will be working in 35 states and the District of Columbia.

The University of Texas at Austin ranked first among contributors from larger schools, with 73 graduates in the program. Within the group of large schools, six from the Big Ten made the top 20 contributors, with the University of Michigan in the lead among this group.

The University has been among the top five contributors to the program for the past six years, with 5 percent of the graduating class applying to the program this year. Throughout Teach for America’s history, about 1,000 University graduates have participated, according to the organization.

Elisa Villanueva Beard, co-CEO of Teach for America, said in a statement that having a wide range of graduates has supported Teach for America’s goal of improving education nationwide.

“We are grateful to the outstanding colleges and universities that cultivate graduates with the leadership skill and deep commitment necessary to expand educational opportunities for students facing the challenges of poverty.”

University alum Andrea Alajbegovic is beginning her first year in Teach for America after graduating in 2013. She is teaching at an elementary school in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Alajbegovic said her experiences in learning about social justice through student groups at the University inspired her to apply to the program.

“Michigan pushes giving back so much, and that’s what attracted me to TFA,” she said.

Alajbegovic plans to stay with the program through next year and continue to work with disenfranchised communities after her time at Teach for America.

University alum Carly Goldberg, in her second year at Teach for America in Chicago, said her undergraduate experience helped her encourage her class of students to work towards attending college.

“Having school spirit for my college really gets the kids pumped up,” she said. “I’m teaching them the fight song and the cheers.”

Correction appended: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified Teach for America as a volunteer organization. Its positions are full-time.