Hometown: Hinesville, Ga.
Class of 2011
Teaching for Tomorrow
Amber Cordry is the first Armstrong student to be accepted into the Teach for America (TFA) program.
In the program, recent college graduates of all backgrounds are recruited to teach for two years in urban and rural public schools. Amber has joined their ranks and will be teaching high school biology in greater Newark, N.J.
“I was born and raised in Hinesville, so it’s going to be a big shift,” she said. “Now I’m going up there with the Yankees, as my family says. It’s going to be a big change, but I’m definitely looking forward to it. I’m ready.”
Since Teach For America (TFA) began in 1990, nearly 33,000 participants have joined the movement to eliminate educational inequity and have reached more than 3 million children nationwide. The organization’s goal is to ensure that all kids – no matter where they live, how much money their parents make or what their skin color is – is given access to a great education.
As part of TFA, Amber will participate in a five-week institute at St. John’s University in summer 2012 to ready for the new adventure. She’ll spend a year after that taking classes at a local university and preparing to get her teaching certification.
Amber’s experiences at Armstrong have readied her for the academic opportunities that lie ahead. While a student at Armstrong, she participated in several research projects in the biology department, published research papers with her fellow students and traveled to several science conventions to present her work.
“I definitely couldn’t have picked a better university to go to,” she said. “My thing with picking a school was that I just didn’t want to be another number, and at Armstrong, I’ve actually been in classrooms with experts and teachers that will go the extra mile. They will do anything that they need to do to make sure you’re successful.”
Once in New Jersey, this proud Pirate looks forward to connecting with her students by drawing from her personal experiences in order to make a difference in their lives.
“My background sort of parallels those of the children I’ll be helping to influence. Coming from a low-income background, my mom was single mother of two kids, so there were some struggles there,” she said. “I feel like I will be able to build a relationship from there and understand the struggles that go on outside of class.”
She knows that the road ahead won’t be easy. Along with adjusting to a new state and city, Amber will be interacting with inner-city children, where behavior and academic challenges are prevalent.
“I don’t have rosy sunglasses on,” she said. “I know it will be challenging, but it will also the most rewarding experience of my life.”