Students Explore Teaching Careers as Urban Education Initiative Fellows

Maki Somosot '12

Students Explore Teaching Careers as
Urban Education Initiative Fellows

by Maki Somosot '12
3/15/2011

Evelyn Fraga '13
Evelyn Fraga '13 (above) joined Bridget Boakye '12 and Elizabeth Bryant '13 as UEI Fellows this year.

Evelyn Fraga '13 recently participated in the Urban Education Initiative (UEI) program, spending three weeks tutoring and helping students with college applications in her hometown of Waukegan, Ill. The program aims to facilitate a better understanding of issues facing urban school districts, while also preparing participants to confront pressing practical and social problems in modern urban education through service learning.

As an Urban Education fellow, Fraga considered ways to increase teacher-parent communication and helped prepare students for both the college application process and the college experience itself.

"The most interesting part is that I am able to see the organization from the perspectives of both the students and the staff," says Fraga, whose first exposure to the UEI program occurred when a UEI volunteer assisted her high school class. "My experience as a program volunteer gave me a new appreciation for all that UEI volunteers had done for me when I was in high school."

The UEI program places college students in schools in the metropolitan New York, Boston, and Chicago areas, where they work under the guidance of faculty and educational outreach staff. Other Swarthmore students participating in the initiative this year included Bridget Boakye '12, who volunteered in New York, and Elizabeth Bryant '13, who volunteered in Boston.

The UEI program is sponsored, in part, by the Consortium for Excellence in Teacher Education (CETE), a group of private liberal arts colleges and universities that formed to support the efforts of teacher educators and students in member institutions as well local school personnel with whom the faculty in the CETE institutions work. CETE recently received a grant from the Ford Foundation that will support students from several of its institutions to participate in the UEI and to run a two-year program for teacher leaders that will start with a summer institute at Swarthmore this summer.