Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Guest Blogger Kendra Corr, '10

Prospective students (and their parents) frequently ask “what can you do with a major in political science?” The quick and dirty answer, of course, is whatever you can do with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Understandably, quick and dirty answers don’t satisfy very much, so now and then we will feature a guest posting from one of our former political science majors—sort of a “where are they now” series to provide anecdotal answers that are more specific. Today, we introduce Kendra Corr, who graduated last May. Kendra has elected a most interesting career path, as she describes here:

I graduated from St. Michael's College in May 2010. After transferring there from Boston University, I elected to become a Political Science major with a minor in Spanish. I was fortunate enough to experience the knowledge, perspective, and support from the SMC Political Science Dept. for the entire 3 years I was there. The education I received from my Political Science professors inspired me to study abroad, involve my self in my community, and actively pursue change. So, upon leaving St. Mike's I knew that I wanted to do something I really believed in and could actually DO to enact change and I stumbled upon Teach for America.

While, clearly, I was not an education major and never intended to teach, Teach for America seemed like the perfect opportunity to become involved in a nationwide movement to provide quality education to every child. Teach for America is an organization which places corps members in high need schools (mostly urban) for a 2 year commitment. Corps members come from all over the country, from all different disciplines and from all different schools.

I was placed in Phoenix, AZ where I was asked to teach Pre-K for a federal program called Head Start. To qualify for Head Start, a child must be income eligible and/or have an Individualized Educational Program. My students also accumulate "points" for incarcerated parents, parents with drug addictions, and various other traumas that may affect a child's learning and development. The more points a child or family has the better chance they have of getting into the program, which also provides extensive family related services (health check ups, counseling, nutrition, job training etc.).

I teach a total of 34 students between the ages of 3 and 5. While my first year of teaching has been extremely difficult, my students and I are learning so much! This year we focus mainly on literacy and social emotional skills that, hopefully, will set them up for more successful life paths. My degree in Political Science and Spanish has helped me immensely in my daily problem solving, public speaking, understanding of the different situations my students and families are coming from, and with Prop 1070 striking fear into so many of the families in my classroom. It has been an extremely challenging and rewarding experience so far and I am excited to see my students grow more and more each day.

Kendra will soon be pursuing a Masters degree in education at the University of Arizona.

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