Grade & Subject: 8th Grade- Math and Science
University of Southern California: B.S. Business Administration

I always had an interest in education, but was apprehensive about pursuing it as a career because it deviated from my undergraduate studies in business. Then one day I reached out to a friend at Teach for America and shared my desire to step into the education industry, but also my concerns about such a drastic career change. He told me something that resonated: “Follow your passions. It’s your life and your story. So, make it count.” I embraced this principle, and pursued a career in education with confidence, and a sense of fearlessness. I am passionate about education, and that is what brought me to where I am today.

I struggled a lot my first year in the classroom, but I honed my pedagogical strategies, built solid relationships, and started to contribute to the reduction of educational inequalities. Or so I thought. Last winter, as I was leaving school, I witnessed a grand theft auto suspect in pursuit. Upon seeing his face, I realized that the suspect was not that much older than my own students, and I was shocked to see that a child was committing
such a crime when he should have been in school.

This experience was pivotal because in that moment I was a witness to the pervasive environmental and socioeconomic issues that threaten the lives of our youth. I was able to make a positive impact in my own classroom, but if I wanted to continue to fight for educational equity, I needed to do more to address the social, cultural, and political complexities that continue to hinder progress.

Thankfully, there is an influx of socially conscious educators and entrepreneurs who are actively striving to make Oakland’s public education system the best for its students. All of my students have such great attitudes and truly make an effort to do their best in my class. It brings me joy when they show excitement after mastering a particular concept or skill. What moves me to do better is simply the desire to help students develop a strong enough foundation to be academically self-sufficient in the future.