Diyaanka Jhaveri

TFA placement: Generalist 4-8 Dallas

Major: International Relations and Global Studies Political Economy track

Minors: Spanish, Middle Eastern Studies

Diyaanka Jhaveri grew up in Plano, in a school system with access to all kinds of resources and a pool of great teachers. But something went astray in Diyaanka’s education.

“I just left [high school] feeling like academics weren’t for me,” she said. Diyaanka remembers a time when all the arrows seemed to point to that conclusion.

“I have this distinct memory of my 10th grade algebra teacher,” she said. “I had a really bad grade in his class, and I went to ask for study strategies from him. He basically said there wasn’t anything I could do, that I had hit my max potential because I just wasn’t good at math.”

After graduating from high school, Diyaanka said she wasn’t really sure what she wanted to do. She had done dance from a young age, but wasn’t sure about a major, so she enrolled in UT PACE. As she worked her way from community college to UT Austin, Diyaanka realized that there were lots of academics she was really good at. This semester she’s taking statistics and not only enjoys it, but feels competent and able to challenge herself and grow.

Looking back, Diyaanka says she wished she had not listened to her math teacher.

“It’s frustrating to think that I was forging my path because of what other people have thought my abilities,” she said.

In fact, due to her success in college and love of the academic process, Diyaanka now knows exactly where she wants to end up. She said her dream career is now to be a college professor.

Diyaanka is doing Teach For America because she wants to make sure other kids do not internalize the same kind of unfair treatment she experienced. She feels an urgency to use her skills from college to help every child.

“I can’t stand the idea that someone, who has even less background support than I did, is having to hear things like my math teacher told me — from someone who’s their mentor and someone they look up to,” she said. “To me, that is just incredibly unfair. As new college graduates, we are in a position now where kids can look up to us, and we can be in a position to help.”

Josephine MacLean