Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College

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Teach For America

Caitlin Libby chosen for select national corps

Caitlin Libby ’10 has been chosen to participate in Teach For America, a select corps of college graduates who commit to teaching for two years in low-income communities across the nation.

She will teach secondary English in the San Francisco Bay Area at a yet-to-be-determined charter school. She plans to move to California in June and begin training in Los Angeles in July.

Founded in 1990 by a new college graduate, Teach For America strives to address educational inequality by recruiting and training "a diverse group of talented recent college graduates who possess the leadership skills needed to make a real impact in the short and long term," according to the organization's Web site.

It is a perfect fit for Libby, who has been interested in issues involving gender-related inequality for years and plans to be what she calls a feminist activist in the future.

“Working with a low-income community through Teach For America would provide me with relevant skills and an understanding of inequalities, making me a more effective feminist activist later in life,” she said. “Class, race and gender inequalities are all issues that influence each other.”

She is double majoring in women’s studies and sociology and lives in the Feminist Perspectives Hall, a theme-based residence hall in Emerson for students who are interested in issues that affect the lives of women.

During the past four years she has been very involved on campus, including working for the Admission Office giving tours and coordinating the ambassador program, and serving as a tutor for the sociology department. Sophomore year she was the editor-in-chief of The Wire. Last year, she raised $6,000 to bring a panel of editors from the blog Feministing.com to campus.

Off campus, she has done several internships working at nonprofits and in the journalism field. “I was originally considering working for a feminist non-profit organization, going into another Americorps program, or even possibly working as a freelance journalist,” said Libby.

She changed her mind after a recruiter from Teach For America began contacting her in April of 2009, and after speaking with several alums who are currently in the corps, including Alyssa Goodman '08, Sarah Mielbye '09, Kristine Vilagie '09.

“Throughout the entire application process I became increasingly convinced this would be a good option for me post-graduation,” she said.

Libby views being part of Teach For America as a way to fulfill an important personal goal—to effect positive social change.

“With my major in sociology I have studied the political, economic, and societal inequalities that people face. Addressing the educational achievement gap through Teach For America is an excellent way to change such unequal opportunities in the United States,” she wrote in her application essay.

“My background in sociology and feminism allows me to understand the bigger picture regarding the challenges, both sociological and gendered, that my students face. As a result, I’m able to empathize and understand how to combat these issues on an individual basis.”