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 Sang-Yop Kwon, in order to shed some light on an organization that focuses on eliminating educational inequity once and for all.
This week’s featured member is Mikaela Casas, a 2018 Corps Member! Mikaela is a senior journalism major with a government minor. Mikaela currently serves as the Philanthropy Officer for Texas Spirits, and she is also a member of Texas 4000 and Communication Council. As a member of Texas 4000, Mikaela will be biking from Austin to Alaska to raise money for cancer research this summer. Mikaela’s involvement through student organizations greatly contributed to her decision to pursue TFA: “Through the organizations I became involved in on campus I was able to meet a ton of future corps members who were passionate about the mission so yes, indirectly I believe my involvement at UT pointed me in the right direction.” Mikaela will be teaching Special Education in San Diego in 2018.
Mikaela’s passion for the fight against educational inequity started with her own experiences in school. “When I came to UT as a Freshman I was shocked. Growing up I hadn’t truly realized that my peers and I were without, but I knew when I stepped foot on this campus I was going to have to try ten times harder with less resources. My teachers did the best they could to prepare us for college with what they had, but it’s true, for every one of my friends from high school that will graduate from college there is a handful of those who won’t. I don’t want anyone to have to experience that, everyone should have the opportunity to succeed and I believe TFA is a step in the right direction.” Mikaela knows that sometimes all it takes is one teacher to show they care; regarding her own teachers, Mikaela said, “A great teacher can make a world of a difference to these kids, I know it did for me.”
After her experience in TFA, Mikaela plans to attend law school and continue in non-profit work. While Mikaela is stoked to enter the large league of TFA teachers who have created change in their classroom, she is well aware of the difficulties that lay ahead. Mikaela believes “…the hardest part of TFA will be the long days and sleepless nights, but in the long run that’s a small price to pay for the opportunity you could have to change a student’s life”. In regards to Mikaela’s advice for students who are considering applying, she believes the best quality an applicant can have is drive. “This program isn’t for everyone, but if you truly believe that all students in this country deserve the same quality education and you are willing to put in the countless hours to see that become a reality don’t just sit there, do something about it.”
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.