Thirty-six members of the class of 2012 joined the Teach for America corps, placing the University tenth in TFA job acceptance rankings among mid-sized schools, according to TFA's recently released statistics.
Joining the teaching corps has long been one of the top career choices for University graduates. TFA was the top employer of graduating seniors in 2011, followed by Google and Goldman Sachs, according to an April 27 Herald article. This year, 36 graduates out of the 57 alums who received offers joined the organization, said Melanie Lazare, TFA recruiter for Brown.
"Brown students have a very socially-oriented, altruistic nature," Lazare said, adding that students are often drawn to the program because of their desire to effect change.
"They want to give back," she said, and interest remains high - students swarmed the CareerLAB for a TFA information session and discussion panel held Sept. 11. The event was designed to introduce prospective corps members to TFA's mission and impact.
"We have a lot of brand awareness but not a lot of mission awareness," she said. Students are often "amazed and shocked" when they discover the inequities in education that TFA aims to rectify.
Panelist Chance Craig '14 described how the dedication of a TFA corps member at his high school in Marvell, Ark. enriched his high school experience and helped him through the Brown application process.
"No one in my entire school understood the magnitude of what I was trying to do," Craig said, noting how his high school education was characterized by racial tensions and intrusive cameras in his classrooms. "Automatically, from the jump, I was at a disadvantage."
Craig said the support from his teacher went beyond the classroom - he helped pay for both the Brown application fee and a plane ticket to A Day on College Hill. "I would not be at Brown had it not been for TFA," Craig said.
Drew Madden '10, a TFA corps member in Rhode Island, concentrated in political science and had planned to go to law school before discovering TFA, he said.
When applying for the program, "I had no idea how to teach," he said, but he wanted to do something that "was going to make a difference."
Now a seventh grade math teacher at Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy in Cumberland, Madden said he has found that the key to teaching is "really making it clear that you care" by establishing relationships with students and their families.
Madden said he had wanted to tackle education policy as a lawyer but realized after working for TFA that "you can't make (education) policy if you've never been there."
"I think any Brown student could do it," Madden said of teaching for TFA. "Rhode Island needs Brown grads to make a difference."