The University of California, San Diego, ranks for the first time among the schools contributing the most graduates to Teach For America, debuting at no. 12 on the list of contributing schools and universities released today by the national nonprofit organization. The graduates who join Teach For America commit to teaching for at least two years in under-resourced schools and become lifelong leaders in the pursuit of educational equity.
Among the country’s largest schools, the University of California, Los Angeles, contributed the greatest number of alumni to the corps, with 65 graduates beginning their Teach For America commitment this fall, while the University of California, Berkeley ranked second among large schools with 57 graduates. Rounding out California’s large-school contributors are University of California, Santa Barbara, with 30 graduates; UC San Diego with 28 graduates; and the University of Southern California with 27 graduates. Among medium-sized schools, Azusa Pacific University debuted near the middle of the pack with 17 graduates, and Pomona College ranked second among small schools, with 13 graduates joining Teach For America. UC San Diego and Azusa Pacific appeared on the list for the first time this year.
“We’re pleased to be included on the list of top contributors,” said Brandon Buzbee, UC San Diego’s executive director of industry engagement and regional advancement. “UC San Diego students continue to demonstrate their commitment to service and community through programs like Teach For America, which is dedicated to making a difference in communities throughout the nation. Our goal in partnering with Teach For America and other employing organizations is to ensure students have as many opportunities as possible to pursue their goals and dreams upon graduation.”
Diode Farin de Dios graduated from UC San Diego last year with a major in biology, and is teaching science at Balboa Elementary School this year. UC San Diego taught her to bridge education with service to make change, she said.
“UC San Diego helped me find my active citizenship—someone who puts the community as a priority in life,” Farin de Dios said. “That motivated me to join Teach For America and work to instill global citizenship in my elementary scientists. ‘Oh the places we’ll go’ is our class mantra.”
Sarah Snook earned a double major in political science and urban planning at UC San Diego, and is teaching seventh grade science at San Ysidro Middle School, a mile from the Mexico border. She was a college mentor at Gompers Preparatory Academy before joining Teach For America–San Diego.
“San Diego is a big engineering and bio-tech hub, but that’s not what San Diego looks like for a lot of people,” Snook said. “The biggest thing I’m trying to do in my classroom is to make that hub a part of my students’ San Diego as well, to connect the engineering and science world to their communities and see that careers there are attainable.”
The national incoming Teach For America corps of 4,100 talented individuals is among the most diverse in the organization’s history. Corps members hail from nearly 830 colleges and universities and have an average GPA of 3.4, Sixty-five percent identify as people of color or come from low-income backgrounds.
David Lopez, the executive director of Teach For America–San Diego, is a graduate of UC San Diego and recruits alumni like himself who want to give back to their communities by helping to provide low-income students with the tools to succeed in college and careers. He was proud to see UC San Diego debut in the 12th spot, tied with Temple University and Texas A&M.
“UC San Diego faculty, staff, and students are known for their public service and civic engagement, and we’re proud that so many graduates continue to give back by joining Teach For America,” Lopez said. “Together we’re working to ensure that all children receive the education needed to reach their full potential.”