The University of Texas at Austin’s Teach for America recruitment team is continuing our 2018 Corps Member features! We are highlighting some of the fantastic individuals who have signed on as corps members, such as Matthew Picon, in order to shed some light on an organization that focuses on eliminating educational inequity once and for all.
Today's feature is Tai Massimilian! Tai is a senior from Dallas, Texas, currently studying Public Relations. At the University of Texas, Tai has been involved as the vice president of Kappa Kappa Gamma, a member of the Senior Fellow Honors Program in Moody College of Communication, as well as a volunteer with CareBox, a non-profit that delivers cancer supplies to cancer patients in the Austin area. Tai additionally was a Sierra Rider on the 2017 Texas 4,000 Cancer team. She will be teaching in Dallas/Fort Worth next fall!
Tai first became interested in Teach For America during her summer on the Texas 4000 ride, in which she biked from Austin to Alaska in order to raise awareness, hope, and support for cancer research. "We would travel to communities every day, talking to people whose loved ones died from cancer. Cancer is awful because it fills people with despair and hopelessness. As a member of Texas 4000, I felt that I could be a concrete manifestation of the hope that we would someday beat cancer. I saw how just one person's actions can have a real ripple effect on a community, a city, and a nation."
Before Texas 4,000, Tai had been interested in Teach For America, but she was not sure whether it was within her reach to make a real impact on educational inequity and children living in poverty. "This summer, I realized that I am more capable than I think I am. I saw that my actions can make a difference. If you want to change something, all you have to do is go out there and start changing it! Texas 4,000 was the final push that made me realize that Teach For America something I can do and something that I really want to do."
Tai learned a lot this summer about patience as well as giving, receiving, and asking for feedback. She thinks this will be this experience will be imperative to her success in the classroom! After her two year commitment in Dallas, Tai plans to continue using her time and talents to help others, whether that be through education or another career path.
Tai's passion for making an impact stems from the death of a close friend, Micaela White. "Our lives are like identical suitcases. They are all the same size, but some people can pack more into theirs than others. Micaela died when she was eighteen and did not have the opportunity to fill her life as I do; therefore, I live my life by the philosophy that I need to pack as much adventure and experience into it as I can for Micaela."
We look forward to seeing the impact Tai will have in the classroom when he heads back to Dallas next year! Stay tuned for more 2018 Corps Member features each week! If you have any interest in applying, talk to our Recruitment Manager, Jorge Galan. He can be reached at Jorge.Galan@teachforamerica.org.