The University of Texas at Austin’s Teach for America recruitment team is continuing our 2017 Corps Member features! We’re highlighting some of the fantastic individuals who have signed on as corps members, such as John Falke, in order to shed some light on an organization that focuses on eliminating educational inequity once and for all.
Today’s featured member is Julio Gonzalez, a 2017 Corps Member. Julio is a Political Communication, Sociology, and Plan II senior. In between his studies, Julio participated in the Texas Speech team, University Leadership Network, Love Hope Strength, and the National Hispanic Institute. Julio traces back his interest in advocacy to the Texas Speech team: “On the speech team, we talk a lot about social justice issues. I’ve done research and presented on various topics from the disenfranchisement of border towns, intersectional solidarity, medical racism, US foreign relations, immigration policies, and more. TFA was the perfect opportunity for me to really put my advocacy to action and make a tangible difference in the most direct way possible.” Julio has been putting his advocacy to good use as a Campus Ambassador on the UT Recruitment Team.
Julio will be teaching bilingual early childhood education in Chicago. While Julio is ecstatic to teach the children of Chicago, he’s also interested in learning a little from them. “I’m excited to learn. I know I’ll be the teacher, but with a class full of so many students from different racial, economic, and cultural background,
I know I’m going to learn so much about the world and the role I’m meant to play in it from some of the most honest and energy-filled people possible.” Much like a large number of corps members, TFA was not originally in Julio’s plans. He instead envisioned going directly to law school after graduation; however, his early acceptance to TFA was a bit of a wake up call. “When I was accepted, I knew the universe was trying to tell me something. The mission of TFA was too important to pass up. I came from a low-income public school on the border, and I am fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to finish high school and attend college, but I am very aware that I am the exception. Too many of my classmates and too many students across the country are blamed, stigmatized, and criminalized for not succeeding in a system that’s actively working against them. Joining TFA is my opportunity to provide students with the tools they need to succeed, not so that they, too, can be the exception, but so that we can shatter the status quo altogether.”
Julio’s advice for students considering applying to TFA was actually inspired by a former corps member: “My role as a teacher might not solve racism, classism, sexism, homophobia, or any other form of bigotry completely, but it’s a crucial part to doing so. Someone at TFA once told me, ‘Students cannot be who they cannot see,’ and I hope who they see at the front of their classroom is exactly who they need to see so that they can be whoever they wish to be.”
Stay tuned for more 2017 Corps Member features! If you have any interest in applying, talk to our Recruitment Manager, Jorge Galan. He can be reached at Jorge.Galan@teachforamerica.org.