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What have you done since graduating and where are you now?
After graduation, I moved down to New Orleans for a position with City Year New Orleans. City Year is an AmeriCorps program that works in schools focusing on closing the achievement gap and reducing the drop out crisis. City Year has many sites across the nation and even a few international sites. While City Year has the same mission across all sites, New Orleans corps members work as interventionists. For example, I work as a kindergarten math interventionist. I have groups across three different classes that I pull out for a more scaffolding math lesson. The idea is to catch my kids up to grade level so they do not fall behind moving forward to the next grades.
How did RCAH prepare you for what you're doing now?
RCAH prepared me for this work in so many ways! It fueled my preexisting passion for social justice and education and gave me the tools to think critically about these issues. The conversations that were facilitated in the RCAH allowed me to gain further insight into societal problem I come face to face with every day in this work. I think most importantly though, through interactions with professors and students, RCAH gave me the courage to pursue my passions.
What were your academic interests in RCAH?
I tended to focus on art and social justice classes while in the RCAH. It was not hard to combine these passion; the two cross over quite a bit. I use what I learned from those classes in my daily work now also! I try to bring in art whenever possible to my kids in New Orleans.
What were your favorite aspects of the RCAH experience?
I cannot imagine where I would be without RCAH. I was truly able to live my learning. I took as many opportunities to take what I learned in the classroom and applied it out in the community. The professors are so supportive and passionate about the same things you are that they are always on board to go outside of the building and apply the work. This holistic experience prepared me for what was to come after under grad.
Did you ever take part in Study Abroad/Study Away at MSU?
I attended the Ghost Ranch Alternative Spring Break in New Mexico. I got to spend a week cleaning up the ranch, hiking up mesas, conquering my fear of heights (at least for a while), making art, writing poetry, visiting museums, eating AMAZING food, experiencing the beauty that is New Mexico, and making some pretty great friends! This is still an experience I think of often, and I would highly recommend it to others!
What words of wisdom do you have for current RCAH students?
RCAH has so many opportunities to work in the community, present research, shape your own learning, come in contact with people in the field of your interests (the list could go on and on).Take as many of these opportunities as you can. You never know who will spark something in you! Go to the performances, go listen to the string band, take a haiku bus ride, go do as much as you can while you're there. What you learn from the RCAH will not necessarily come from the lessons, so soak it up while you are there!