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For the fourth consecutive year, Arizona State University has been named among the top producers of Teach for America corps members, according to 2018 rankings released by Teach for America, the national nonprofit that enlists recent college graduates to teach for two years in high-need urban and rural public schools.
In 2018, ASU climbed in the rankings to the top three, up from No. 4 in 2017, among large institutions included in the 680 contributing colleges and universities.
Katie Stephens-Rich, Teach for America recruitment manager at ASU, said the 2018 corps includes 55 Sun Devil undergraduate alumni. Since ASU’s partnership with Teach for America began in 2006, 469 ASU alumni have completed the Teach for America corps experience.
She noted that the newest group is one of the most diverse corps in the organization’s history, with 64 percent identifying as a person of color, 62 percent coming from low-income backgrounds and 58 percent identifying as first-generation college graduates.
“We are thrilled that ASU is once again a top-contributing university with Teach for America,” said Julia Tebben, program coordinator, senior for Strategic Initiatives and University Partnerships with ASU’s Career and Professional Development Services. “This ranking reflects the incredible partnership between ASU and TFA, and the hard work of our respective staff members and students.”
Tebben noted that this ranking showcases the dedication to social embeddedness highlighted within the ASU Charter.
“Many of our Sun Devil alumni are placed in Arizona schools, empowering students and fostering college readiness,” she said.
Chloé López is a recent ASU graduate and a first-year Teach for America corps member. She completed her BA in political science and double minors in women and gender studies, and justice studies in December 2017 and is now teaching fourth grade at Maryvale Preparatory Academy in west Phoenix.
A first-generation college student and a Latina with Arizona roots, López said her decision to participate in TFA was informed by her great-grandparents' experience with educational inequalities due to racial segregation as well as the challenges she witnessed during her own education that illustrated how those inequalities persisted.
“When the ASU Teach for America recruiter reached out, I knew I had both a civic and personal duty to help offer students in my own community a chance at an excellent education,” López said.
Though early in her tenure with TFA, López said the experience has been an empowering one.
“Between personal development meetings from both my school and Teach for America, school leadership positions and general comradery, I have never felt so empowered than I am now by my fellow school staff and 2018–2017 corps members,” she said.
The returns from this broad network of support all stream back to López’s classroom and students, who she says “challenge me to continually pursue being a better leader, person and thinker for them and myself because they and I know we cannot afford to be otherwise.”
“ASU and TFA’s partnership promotes a sense of civic duty and personal development that is unrivaled,” López said. “I believe ASU has the best university partnership in the country, and this belief is backed by Dr. Crow’s clear understanding of TFA’s mission and support since the 2006 TFA/ASU partnership he sought to form.”
She believes that “Sun Devils are the very changemakers classrooms need” and that the 2018 TFA recruitment year statistics are proof of this idea.
López plans to continue making a difference for students by completing her Master of Education from the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College and either an EdD or PhD at ASU.