Jalisha Braxton ’16, Teach for America

Jalisha-BraxtonIt is difficult to attend Princeton and be involved in the education reform movement on campus without hearing about Teach For America, the nonprofit organization founded by Princeton alumnus Wendy Kopp. Being a freshman, I was less versed than most other students on the intricacies of the Teach For America organization, but my Princeternship at the Teach For America Headquarters in NYC helped expose me to all of the organization’s educational endeavors.

My first day at Teach For America was phenomenal: after waking up early to catch the train from Princeton to NYC, I and another Princeton intern were graciously welcomed to TFA Headquarters by various employees, including many Princeton alumni like Sumin Lee ’09, and Alex Krupp ’10, our Princeternship host. After we received our warm welcome, a tour of the facility commenced, and we were allowed to freely explore the SaschaSuminJalishadifferent departments of the organization, ranging from recruitment and marketing to technology and growth and development. The rest of the first day focused around getting to know more about Teach For America as an influential organization. My fellow Princetern and I were encouraged to tailor our experience towards our own personal interests, and were permitted to speak with individuals from various fields and backgrounds who were devoting their lives to improving education. It was really great to see that the organization, though divided into so many diverse departments, could still successfully unify them all under the common goal of closing the achievement gap.

The final two days of the Princeternship were centered around a recruitment project developed for the other Princetern and I: we complied a list of 10 influential Princeton alumni who participated in the TFA Corps Program, created a survey that could be sent to those alumni to obtain stories about their experiences in TFA, and drafted an email that would encourage the Princeton alumni to complete our survey. The purpose of our project was to gather information from alumni that would CompanyCoreValuesencourage current Princeton undergrads to apply to the TFA Corps program. I really felt like the work I did as an intern at TFA was beneficial to the employees of the organization, specifically Joe Picini and Michaela Grosso, two amazing members of the Recruitment Team who work endlessly to encourage students in New Jersey to join the corps. Their appreciation helped make this Princeternship experience unforgettable, and so I would like to thank them, in addition to Alex, Sumin, Sylvia Monreal, and everyone else at Teach For America for this wonderful opportunity.

Overall, I would say the greatest thing I learned from my Princeternship experience is that everyone, no matter their interest or major, can contribute to the education reform movement. Through my Princeternship, I have also gained an invigorating desire to continue working in the field of education, and hope that my work will inspire others to do the same.