Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

41° Evanston, IL
Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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NU students gear to teach America

Wardell Minor says he probably wouldn’t be at Northwestern if not for the guidance of his teachers at Morgan Park High School, a public high school in Chicago. Eager to similarly influence students, the Education senior applied to join the Teach for America program in the fall.

Minor is one of 51 graduating NU seniors accepted into the program for next year — a 40 percent acceptance rate that’s more than twice the national average.

“I think it is the quality of student at Northwestern, (and) not only academically,” said Laura Nalley, Teach for America’s Midwestern Recruitment Director. “It is striking how many student organizations our applicants not only take part of, but take a leadership role in. The university seems to foster that.”

Nationwide, 2,100 graduating seniors will begin Teach for America next year.

Nalley said there has been a recent nationwide increase in interest in the program, which is part of the government-funded AmeriCorps. Recruitment efforts and general awareness have promoted the program, Nalley said.

“I think that the awareness of what the education gap is in our country is growing on college campuses throughout our country,” she said. “And as more and more students have done Teach for America, the more they help to educate students still on campus who then decide: ‘This is something I could do that could matter.'”

The program places recent college graduates in school districts for two years in an effort to eliminate education inequality. After summer training courses, they work in areas where high-quality teachers are in short supply and earn local salaries. There are currently about 3,000 teachers from 300 colleges and universities in Teach for America, according to the organization’s Web site.

“If you are able to lead on a college campus … it’s a great indicator of how you will be able to set a goal for a group of people,” Nalley said.

Education senior Rebecca Maltzman, who will be teaching in Camden, N.J., next year, was interested in Teach for America before she came to campus her freshman year. She signed up to be a campus recruiter for the program after having known students who had been involved in the program.

“I knew people that had done it years ago; I watched the CNN documentary on it; I had read articles about it,” she said. “The opportunity to have such responsibility and possibility when you graduate from college is pretty unique.”

Maltzman said her leadership experiences on the executive board of Northwestern Community Development Corps and service learning projects helped her prepare for the challenging two-year experience. Minor also said his position as president of the Phi Beta Sigma, a historically black fraternity that does service work, also gave him confidence going into the program, he said.

“I realize it’s going to be a challenge, but I’ve dealt with a lot of challenges and I’m looking forward to it,” Minor said.

Reach Amanda Palleschi at

[email protected].

The teaching numbers:

 Number of applications nationwide: 17,000

 Number of accepted applications nationwide: 2,100

 Number of applications from NU: 124

 Nationwide acceptance average: 1 in 6

 Acceptance average for NU this year:

between 1 in 2 and 1 in 3

 Number of NU students accepted: 51

 Number of NU students who have accepted offer so far: 36

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881
NU students gear to teach America