Courtney Pierre ’21 found that a position at Teach for America would complement many of the skills and interests she had developed at Hamilton. Her role at the nonprofit, she said, will provide the opportunity to “give what I can to the community and [help] foster positive growth.”
Following a six- to eight-week intensive training course, Teach for America places recruited college graduates into low-income communities within the 52 regions the organization serves. There, “corps members” hone their teaching abilities with the goal of furthering educational equity.
As of now, Pierre will be sent to Denver, where she will work as an early childhood educator. The job will be a two-year commitment, during which time corps members like herself will do “teaching, as well as leadership training and cultural awareness training.”
For Pierre, the chance to teach in one of these communities was enticing due, in part, to her experience with and fondness for working with kids. “I’ve held a lot of roles in various clubs and organizations that have been kind of just working hands-on with kids,” she said. “And these haven’t been in formal classroom settings — more, a lot, in sports settings ... I just knew that I really enjoyed that.”
Major: Economics (psychology minor)
Hometown: Andover, Mass.
High school: The Governor’s Academy
At Hamilton, Pierre is the president of Strong Girls, a nationwide organization that seeks to empower young girls through participation in sports. The club also focuses on “emotional strength activities and mindfulness.”
The position at Teach for America also resonates with Pierre’s academic interests. A psychology minor, she is planning to conduct research this semester with Professor Rachel White on the developmental milestones of young children, particularly in the Pre-K age range. At Teach for America, Pierre said, she is excited to spend time with children to “[look] at that age of critical development” and foster “early learners.”
More broadly, Pierre tied her academic experience at Hamilton to the larger mission of Teach for America. “Learning so much in the past few years about the inequalities that exist in the world and the unequal access to education ... the privilege that I have to be here is so unique,” she said. “That really was like: okay, this isn’t just about working with kids — this really is a very important and powerful mission.”
Beyond finding value in the College’s academic culture, Pierre reflected fondly on the social environment at Hamilton. “I think that the people at Hamilton are just a really awesome balance of super hardworking and super driven people. And everyone’s looking to be successful. But everyone is also very humble and very down to earth, which is really hard to find,” she explained. “They’ve all pushed me to be the same, too — to strive for big things, but to stay down to earth and go with the flow.”