Pitzer Spotlights

2006-2007 Spotlight Archives

Two Pitzer Students Teach for America in Pursuit of Educational Equity

Nurjahan Bruce and Yazmin Chavira
Nurjahan Bruce and Yazmin Chavira have been selected to be a part of Teach for America's 2007 national corps.

Two outstanding Pitzer seniors, Nurjahan Bruce and Yazmin Chavira, have been selected to be a part of Teach for America's 2007 national corps. Both students are committed to the field of education and to making a difference by helping to provide educational opportunities to students from low-income communities that are equal to their peers from high-income communities.

Nurjahan, a sociology major from Williamstown, Massachusetts, may pursue a three-year master's program at UCLA while completing her Teach for America commitment. Her Teach for America assignment will take place within the Los Angeles Unified School District where she will be working with special education students. "I am more concerned about the educational experience of the students I will interact with, although I'm sure I will inevitably grow personally in the process," she said.

Yazmin, a psychology major from Houston, Texas, will earn her master's in education in two years. Her Teach for America assignment will take her to a charter school in South Bronx. She looks forward to working at a charter school based on her own positive experience at a Houston KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) school. "I was virtually raised by my KIPP teachers who had also participated in Teach for America. My teachers described what they were doing as 'climbing down the mountain to help others,'" Yazmin explained. "I realized that I wanted to do that as well."

Both graduating seniors hope to effect change in educational reform. Yazmin intends to work in school administration with a focus on closing the achievement gap in middle school.

Nurjahan and Yazmin met and became friends while Resident Assistants at Pitzer. Nurjahan has also taught ESL to adult women in Ontario, served as president of the Muslim's Student Association, a board member of the Unity South Asian Student Group (EKTA) and a leader of the United Middle Eastern Student Group (ITIHAD).

Their reasons for selecting Pitzer include an appreciation for its core values in addition to the way in which members of the community are encouraged to be involved and not get stuck in a bubble or overly self-involved.

About: Teach For America is the national corps of outstanding recent college graduates of all academic majors who commit two years to teach in urban and rural public schools and become leaders in the effort to expand educational opportunity. For more information, visit www.teachforamerica.org.

—Susan Andrews