Today's spotlight feature is Jessica Giles! Jessica is a senior at UT studying Communication Sciences and Disorders. Here at UT, she serves as president of National Student Speech, Language, and Hearing Association, and a social coordinator for Texas ALDPES. After graduating, she'll be working as high school teacher in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Jessica became interested in being a part of Teach for America after attending numerous presentations around campus. "I heard about Teach for America at many of their on-campus presidents and every time I’ve been compelled and really interested. When I started considering what I wanted to do after graduation, I saw another presentation and I applied that night! I felt like it was a great fit because of my long-term plan."
"A lot of my coursework goes into educational inequities and I’m doing a certificate in educational policy. It’s such a huge problem and everything I’ve read and learned shows that helping kids and children at a young age is the best way to combat the effects of inequity."
She decided to teach science after taking classes at UT. "I didn’t really care for science when I was growing up. My senior year I took a biology class and I really enjoyed it and the summer before I came here I had the best professor who helped me understand how important science is and made me more inspired to help others learn more about it themselves. My classes have shown me the human application of scientific concepts and I’ve grown to love it a lot and want to help other people appreciate it."
After her two years, Jessica hopes to pursue a career in policy. "I realized I was more interested in the policy behind disability rights and healthcare policy and education policy. I know that I want to work in the policy world and I saw that it was super important to get experience with underserved populations and groups of children because I want to work in policy that directly affects those groups of people. I’m definitely open to teaching and then go into administration, but if not, then I will probably get a public administration masters and then go into children's healthcare policy."
"If you’re interested in it, apply. When I applied, I was definitely on the fence and I was intimidated by the process. While it’s intimidating, it helps you a lot when it comes to deciding if it’s what you want to do and it made me feel more confident in my decision to do it after I graduate. I also reached out to people who were doing it with me or did it before so I could learn from their experiences."
To learn more about Teach for America, please reach out to your recruitment director Jorge Galan at email@example.com!