Feature Stories Campus Events All Stories

W&L Among Top Teach For America Producers

Washington and Lee is one of the top producers of graduates participating in the Teach For America program this year.

This is the first year the University has been on the top contributors list for Teach for America. A dozen members of W&L’s Class of 2013 joined the Teach For America corps, placing the University among the top 20 small schools (2,999 or fewer students) for participants. W&L is tied for No. 11 on the list with Barnard, Colby and Franklin & Marshall. Throughout Teach For America’s 23-year history, 73 W&L alumni have taught as corps members.

“Our graduates are an excellent match for Teach For America,” said Beverly Lorig, director of the Career Development Center. “Teach For America is looking for students with great leadership potential and with commitment and drive. Our candidates have always demonstrated those qualities along with their poise and compassion.”

Lorig said Teach For America is an excellent first job, especially for high-achieving students who are not certain what direction they might want to take. Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding individuals from all academic disciplines to spend two years teaching in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the movement to end educational inequity. This fall, more than 11,000 corps members will be teaching in 48 urban and rural regions across the country, while nearly 32,000 alumni are working across sectors to ensure that all children have access to an excellent education.

“Our students who have participated report that the experience has a major impact on them and on their future direction,” said Lorig. “I also think that part of our success this year can be attributed to the preparation that we’re providing them in the Career Development Center through individual coaching and a videotaped interview that they do. In addition, our teacher education program has been a resource to students before they get to the in-person/teach-a-class experience. W&L alumni of Teach For American have also been generous in helping guide students through a very competitive process.”

Eric Hamscher, a member of the class of 2011 and an alumnus of the Teach For America program, received the organization’s Lincoln Financial Fellowship for 2012-13. Eric was a middle school math teacher at Antonia Pantoja Charter School in Philadelphia. As a Lincoln Financial Fellow, Eric worked with Lincoln Financial employees in the Greater Philadelphia area on special activities to support student learning, including the establishment of a Lincoln Pen Pal program.

Eric began graduate school in education at the University of Pennsylvania this month. When Eric won the award, Tre Johnson, executive director of Teach For America in Greater Philadelphia said, “Eric exemplifies the tireless commitment to educational excellence and unflagging effort that corps members strive to bring to their classrooms day in and day out.”