Teach For America put Georgetown University in the top 20 in the list of medium-sized universities contributing the most alumni to the program for the seventh year in a row.
Georgetown ranked seventh with 27 alumni behind two D.C. area schools, Howard University and the George Washington University, which contributed 40 and 35, respectively. This is a drop in position from 2013, when Georgetown was in fourth place with 40 alumni.
Georgetown’s 27 alumni will join 10,600 Teach For America members teaching in 50 urban and rural regions across the country. Since 1991, almost 500 Georgetown alumni have joined the program.
“Teach For America works in partnership with communities to expand educational opportunity for children facing the challenges of poverty,” Teach For America Manager of Communications Elora Tocci said.“Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding college graduates and professionals to make an initial two-year commitment to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the movement to end educational inequity.”
Established in 1990, Teach For America has committed itself to eliminating educational inequality in local communities across the United States. Since then, more than 33,000 participants have reached over 3 million children.
According to Teach For America Recruitment Manager Weston Fillman, the program goes beyond the activities of simple community service through intense engagement between teachers and students.
“We provide intensive training, support and career development that helps these leaders increase their impact and deepen their understanding of what it takes to provide an excellent education to our most underserved kids,” Fillman said.
Georgetown graduates have been particularly engaged in this cause because it aligns with the university’s overall goals and its Jesuit mission.
“Georgetown students and alumni have a real passion for service,” Tocci said. “The fact that so many Hoyas join Teach For America is a testament to their commitment to social justice and desire to make our country more equitable for kids facing the challenges of poverty.”
Teach For America has faced criticism in the past for “padding the resumes” of college graduates before they apply to jobs in their desired field. According to Fillman, this criticism is unfounded, since 90 percent of Teach For America alumni are working in education or with low-income communities today.
“TFA seeks individuals who are looking to solve the problems facing America’s public school systems and it starts in the classroom and emerges from there,” Fillman said. “We believe in the collective action of many people, in every community and in every field fighting against educational injustice and to tackle large issues of systemic racism and poverty.”
Kelly O’Keefe (SFS ’15) was accepted to Teach For America the spring semester of her junior year and now serves as a campus campaign organizer for the organization. O’Keefe will tentatively teach high school mathematics in Baltimore, Md., during the 2015-2016 academic year.
According to O’Keefe, Georgetown students are naturally drawn to the program due to the values taught on campus.
“I think it definitely has a lot to do with Georgetown’s Jesuit values,” O’Keefe said. “At Georgetown, we are taught a lot about how to be men and women for others and our world class education can be used to further our careers, but can also be used to help other people.”
O’Keefe said that the abundance of community service programs for students to take part in creates a culture of giving, propelling people toward Teach For America.
“I think that especially through programs like D.C. Reads, D.C. Schools, Prison Outreach and Jumpstart, Georgetown has countless programs that are focused on education quality,” O’Keefe said. “For a lot of people, Teach for America is a very appropriate culmination of their four years at Georgetown.”