WASHINGTON, PA (June 14, 2013)—Three members of the Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) Class of 2013 have been accepted to Teach For America, a highly selective program that places members in teaching positions in 46 communities across the country.
Heather Painter, Charanya Kaushik and Rosanna Tsatie will be part of a movement to help expand educational opportunity nationwide by teaching in a low-income community for two years.
Painter was a triple major in English, German and political science, a native of Pittsburgh who plans to go to law school.
Kaushik was president of the Indian Student Association, founder of the executive advisory council of Alpha Lambda Delta National Honor Society and a teaching assistant in the chemistry department.
Tsatie, an art major returning home to New Mexico to make an impact in her local school district.
Painter began her training this week with Teach For America and begins working at KIPP Delta Elementary Literacy Academy in Helena, Ark., on July 22.
A graduate of South Park High School, Painter has studied abroad in Germany. A former president of the German Club, she is passionate about energy policy and renewable resources.
But she wants to teach, at least for now.
“To have the opportunity to teach in underprivileged school districts, to do something not a lot of people have the opportunity to do, is very special to me,” Painter said. “I have had a great education and I want to help others enjoy the same.”
Kaushik, who is from Canonsburg, Pa., will spend the next two years expanding educational opportunities for children in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.
“At W&J, I have strengthened my ability to communicate what I have learned to others. They (W&J) administer essay-based tests. This allows us to hone our reading and writing skills, which have been a growing problem, I have learned, in the Valley,” Kaushik said.
With her background in biology, the pre-health graduate expects to teach in the sciences.
“It will be interesting to gain first-hand experience by living in the area and working with children to get additional perspective as to how these communities learn and grow,” Kaushik added.
In training now at Arizona State University, Tsatie has accepted a position as middle school art teacher in her native Zuni Public School District in New Mexico.
Tsatie’s original plan was to go into the medical field.
“I have always wanted to give back to my community, and by becoming a nurse or a doctor, I thought that was the only way because we have our own hospital in Zuni. But, since I was no longer going into the medical field, I thought that becoming a teacher would be another way to ‘give back’ to the community I grew up in,” she said. “When I found out that I was accepted in the 2013 Corps, I was so excited to know that I was placed in New Mexico, because it was closer to my hometown. And to find out that I had a job offering in the Zuni Pueblo was the greatest news I ever received.”
Tsatie plans to attend the University of New Mexico and earn a Master's in Education.
“I would like to bring some of my culture into the underprivileged schools and their communities. I feel that my help is needed as a teacher and a role model to share experiences and knowledge of how important education is for an individual and the community,” Tsatie said. “With my support, encouragement, dedication, and determination, I will show the younger generation that with an education, they too can achieve anything they want to.”