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Finding my path



Major: Political Science
Hometown: Glenwood Springs, CO

Year: Senior

Over the years my answer to the question, what do you want to be when you grow up?, was constantly changing: from being a marine biologist to a forensic pathologist and even a geologist. In my freshman year at Fort Lewis I declared a political science major and with that I thought I had finally found my answer to the question – I wanted a career in politics. As a high school senior I discovered that my passion for foreign affairs and politics was something I ultimately wanted to pursue in college.

Growing up in Mexico I was also constantly exposed to politics; my dad was highly involved in state and local politics working on campaigns and serving in public office. I wanted to follow in my dad’s footsteps and dreamed about the day in which I too would run for public office. Majoring in political science seemed like the best way to help me achieve that. Little did I know that even though I was passionate and dedicated to this goal, my four-year journey at Fort Lewis College would change my plans.

I have no doubt that all my different experiences at FLC have guided my passion for politics and helped shape a new career path for me. In my involvement on campus working with our Hispanic resource center, student government and as a student employee for academic advising and admissions, I have had the opportunity to work closely with the student body in many different capacities. The more and more I worked with students and learned about the inner workings of educational institutions the more passionate I became about issues in education.

As I frantically started to draft out my plans for life after college, I reconnected with a friend I met in Washington D.C. who suggested I look into a program called Teach For America. That same day I began to research the program and found out that their mission is to work towards education equality so that kids growing up in poverty get an excellent education.  They recruit a diverse group of leaders to teach for two years in low income communities in various regions across the United States.

After looking into the program for several days I decided I would apply. The admission process is highly selective and over the past three years their acceptance rate has averaged below 15 percent. I will admit that after seeing the admission rate, I became discouraged but decided to move forward with my application knowing that it would be worth it to get to be part of such a great program.

Before looking into TFA, I had never considered teaching as a career, but after four years at FLC I gained new perspectives that allowed me to see the many possibilities that this teaching experience could provide me.  As I have learned in my time as a political science student you can’t bring about effective change when you don’t fully understand an issue or the institutions that make the policies. Having the opportunity to enter the classroom and experience the issues with our current education system will provide me with valuable knowledge that in the future I can pair with my political science education to work on education policy.

After a long application process and two interviews, I was accepted into the Teach For America 2014 Corps and I have accepted a position in the TFA Colorado Corps where I will be teaching bilingual education in Denver. My plan is that after completing my two year commitment with TFA, I will attend graduate school for public policy.

I still cannot believe that after graduating in May I will return to the classroom in the fall not as a student but a teacher. I guess it is true – it is all about the journey and not the destination. My journey at Fort Lewis has helped shaped me in many ways as a student and an individual and ultimately redirected my career goals.

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