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Sylvia Boateng '11 Awarded Fellowship for Aspiring Teachers of Color

Sylvia Boateng ’11 Awarded
Fellowship for Aspiring Teachers of Color

by Stacey Kutish

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."