Today's spotlight feature is 2018 corps member Austin Reynolds! Austin is a senior majoring in English and Pre-med; next fall, he will be teaching high school English in Houston, TX. Currently, at UT, he serves as President of the UT Senate of College. In the past, he's been involved with the Liberal Arts Council, Texas Phanos, and the College Tuition and Budget Advisory Committee.
Austin first learned about Teach for America from a recruiter here at UT. After he spoke with some Alumni and the recruiter, he began working with Teach for America as a Campus Campaign Coordinator. "I felt the program was an awesome way to combat institutional inequity. It seems crazy to me that the circumstances of your birth could impact your access to education. My mom is a high school teacher too, so I felt naturally inclined to work in the education." Austin also wanted to help serve the queer community. "It’s a great way to be both a role model and help others."
Following his time at Teach for America, Austin is interested in working in health or policy. "My family is oriented around healthcare so there’s a natural interest growing up with it. I also got interested in the policy side of health. I wanted to be helpful within the community and I was wondering how I could help in that area." He's also interested in studying the intersection of queer health and health education. "I wanna study about queer health, queer health education, and access to health care. There’s a lot of stigma in healthcare and I’m curious how this impacts access to health care for queer individuals."
For students that are considering applying for Teach for America, Austin says, "Ask yourself if you see yourself fitting in and giving back. If it’s something you’re considering, you really need to expand how this will impact everything you do for the rest of your journey. Is giving back to education something you want to do in your lifetime? If you’re indecisive, it’s okay! Hear other people’s stories and reach out to others. Keep talking to people about it!" He advises people to reach out to previous alumni and learn from them. "I met a lot of UT alumni who’ve followed the same path as me and wanted to contribute as much as possible to me. There’s this whole community that’s looking to give back and devote time to others."
When asked about his personal experiences in the interviewing process, Austin advises people to start early. "I went to an interview session and I got really nervous. It’s intense. I started working that day and building my lessons right away. After that, I ran through some normal mock interviews. I made sure to talk to people who've been through the process already. In the end, they wanna see organizational skills and that you care about teaching and education."
We're looking forward to seeing Austin have an impact in the classroom 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.