Letter to the Editor

Duwain Pinder

When I graduated from Case Western Reserve University in 2010, I had a pretty clear five-year plan. I would work at McKinsey & Company for two or three years, go back to graduate school, and then decide where to go from there. I was excited to build on the leadership skills developed during my undergraduate years and learn how to become a leader in the private sector.

After graduation, I spent two years at McKinsey gaining many skills and learning a ton about how business and organizations work. And while I greatly enjoyed my time at McKinsey and am grateful for the experience, I yearned for an opportunity in which I would be able to positively affect change within the community. Specifically, I was passionate about changing the reality that our nation does not provide a quality education to all.

Therefore, when I heard about Teach For America (TFA) coming to Ohio, I became excited about the opportunity to not only affect change to remedy a national problem, but to also affect change within the communities that I know. Because I was raised in Columbus and lived in Cleveland for five years, Ohio is very special to me, and the chance to positively impact the communities within the state was an opportunity that I could not pass up. I joined the TFA staff in April to help lead the launch of our new teaching corps in the Cincinnati and Cleveland areas and position TFA for long term sustainability in the state.

Teachers are one of the most critical factors in determining student achievement. In the 21 years since Teach For America’s inception in 1990, many TFA corps members, working alongside dedicated colleagues, school leaders, and community members, have shown that students facing the challenges of poverty can achieve at the highest levels with the support of committed teachers. Now that TFA is a community partner in the state, we have an incredible opportunity to expand educational opportunity for students here in Ohio and build a movement to increase educational equity. This movement needs the smart, talented graduates from CWRU.
Looking back on my senior year of college, the biggest question in my mind was “Where can I have the most impact?” I imagine that is a question that many of you are considering as you continue your career search. I can think of no better way to begin your professional career than dedicating two years to serve the community and close the gap in opportunities available to low income students and their more affluent peers.

The next application deadline is Friday, Nov. 2. I encourage you to learn more and start your application.

Duwain Pinder
USG President 09 -10