The holidays always attract the big questions: What are your plans for after graduation? Have you applied to any jobs? Where do you think you will end up? Seniors specifically find themselves on the end of these questions as the transition to employment is approaching. 

Nashville, Denver, Charlotte and San Francisco will be the responses to the latter question for some University of Richmond students who will begin employment with Teach For America after graduation. 

Teach For America has recruited on the University of Richmond campus since 1991, one year after it was founded by Wendy Kopp, a Princeton University alumna, said Rebecca Schuster, a manager of recruitment at Teach For America. 

Teach For America has a wide recruiting pool. The 2018 corps members represented more than 680 colleges and universities across the country, Schuster said. 

Lauren Lambert, Julie Ball, Chantel Baker and Ella Stout are a few of the seniors who will be starting corps programs after graduation. Although TFA cannot release the number of students accepted at any school to protect the privacy of applicants, UR's graduating class of 2018 had six students who accepted their TFA offers and are teachers this year, Schuster said. 

Ball has spent her college career as a student-athlete on the women’s lacrosse team and majoring in leadership. Ball will be completing her early childhood education program in Denver, Colorado, after learning about TFA during a career fair last spring. Ball is excited about being able to set the foundation for children’s educational experiences by teaching preschoolers and is hoping to set them on the right trajectory and help them to love learning, she said. 

The interview process was straightforward, designed to take under two hours and requiring one 300-word essay, with a few portions including a lesson plan, a group interview and an individual interview, Ball said. 

“The application process isn’t intimidating at all," Ball said. "The people who work for TFA are extremely passionate individuals and love meeting others who share the same vision for teaching and making a difference in the field of education."

The TFA recruiting team tabled in Tyler Haynes Commons for a meet-and-greet on Oct. 8 and held informational interviews in the days following for interested participants. TFA has an on-campus student internship that focuses on marketing and building a network on campus, Schuster said. The student interns present to classrooms and student organizations to share information about the TFA  postgraduate opportunity and organize networking opportunities on campus. 

Megan Wing, ‘17, introduced Lambert to TFA through her social media posts. Wing is a kindergarten teacher in Tulsa, and after Lambert witnessed her journey through her posts, she wanted to know more, Lambert said. 

Lambert then connected with a regional recruiter and found that she had a lot in common with the recruiter because they both had a similar outlook their senior year, Lambert said. Because Lambert knew she wanted to go to graduate school later in life but was looking for hands-on experience first to help shape the trajectory of her life, Lambert applied to TFA, she said.

Stout was motivated to become involved with TFA by her passion for social justice, and being placed in a school in the inner city will help achieve her goal of making a difference, Stout said. 

Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Stout will be moving to San Francisco, California, her first-choice location. She is looking forward to relocating to California, as well as meeting all the other corps members in her region, Stout said. 

Baker is also excited to serve as a role model and mentor in her students' lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, she said. After having an impromptu conversation with a TFA recruiter in the Commons, she decided to apply. 

“To any student who may be considering applying to TFA, know that there are millions of students in need of educators from a diverse range of experiences to supply them not only with their curriculum but with skills and advice on how to be notable citizens in society post-graduation,” Baker said. “Be passionate about the profession and realize the impact you can have on these students.”  

Contact senior features writer Louise Howorth at louise.howorth@richmond.edu.