Sylvia Boateng '11 Awarded Fellowship for Aspiring Teachers of Color

Stacey Kutish

Sylvia Boateng ’11 Awarded
Fellowship for Aspiring Teachers of Color

by Stacey Kutish
2/15/2011

Sylvia Boateng '11
Sylvia Boateng '11

Sylvia Boateng '11, a special major in educational studies and political science with a minor in black studies from Allentown, Pa., is the recipient of a Fellowship for Aspiring Teachers of Color from the Woodrow Wilson-Rockefeller Brothers Fund (WW-RBF). One of just 25 students selected nationally for this honor, Boateng will receive a $30,000 stipend to complete a master's degree in education, preparation to teach in a high-need public school, support throughout a three-year teaching commitment, and guidance toward teaching certification.

"The award will first and foremost afford me some financial freedom as someone who comes from a low-income family," says Boateng, who plans to teach middle school social studies and history. "The fellowship will also connect me to other current WW-RBF scholars, as well as a network of alumni. I can look to these people for support as I learn more about teaching. I hope to become a teacher who can balance idealism with the reality of teaching."

While at Swarthmore, Boateng has been involved in Dare 2 Soar, a program that, with support from the College's Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility, provides after-school homework help, cultural enrichment activities, and mentoring to students in the Chester Upland School District. The program's goal is to close the achievement gap one child at a time by encouraging Chester youth to set high goals, gain self-esteem, and celebrate their history and culture.

"When I started facilitating the Dare 2 Soar Columbus literary magazine project, I felt so comfortable leading a class of middle school students," Boateng says. "I loved learning from my mistakes and trying to improve my teaching skills. By the end of the project, I saw the improvement in my own skills and, importantly, the students' understanding of writing."