Hello and welcome back everyone! Hope everyone is staying warm and having a great return back to UT this week :) This week's spotlight is Ariana Azimi, a senior at UT studying Government and minoring in Women's and Gender Studies & Middle Eastern Studies. During her time at UT, Ariana has worked with Texas THON, the Liberal Arts Council, Women in Foreign Affairs, and has served as President of the Texas Lassos. She's also worked as Freshman Interest Group Mentor.
Ariana first learned about Teach for America through a friend of hers who served as a corps member. "It’s been on my radar ever since. I really enjoyed hearing what he had to say about his experiences and talked to the campus recruiter. I’m passionate about non-profits, education, and youth. I thought this was a perfect way to make a difference in a community." Ariana first became aware of the effects of educational inequity when she saw it within her own school district. "In my school district, there were definitely schools that had a reputation for being the ‘bad’ high school because of their academics or their area. My high school was in a better area with the IB program and we were seen as having the better experience. I realized where you live really affects the resources that you have.”
In addition to this, she grew up with parents that emphasized the value of education growing up. "As a child of immigrants, the value of education and being engaged with my community has been important to me and my parents. By teaching in an underserved community, it’s the best way to start small and make a difference in a community. Cultivating a space for them to learn and feel safe is so important."
For students that are thinking of applying or preparing to interview, Ariana says this, "It’s incredibly worthwhile to apply. knowing that I’m going to have a job teaching and working with kids makes me really excited to move on to the next step of my life. The interview is a lot less stressful than you think. Practice your lesson a lot of times. One of my friends told me to pick a subject that I know a lot about. I did the three branches of government, and I wanted to have something that I could get excited about myself and get everyone in the room engaged in.".
Ariana believes that while many people view the experiences of being a teacher for Teach for America as a difficult and arduous endeavor, it's worth it in the end. "From my friends who’ve done TFA, there’s a lot of challenges and it gets really tough. Whenever I ask my friends if they would do it again, they always say yes. They don’t regret doing TFA, and it’s changing their lives and others along with it."
We look forward to seeing the impact Ariana makes next fall in the classroom! Be sure to check back next week for another feature. If you have any questions or interest in applying, please talk to our Recruitment Manager, Jorge Galan. He can be reached at Jorge.Galan@teachforamerica.org.