Few graduating seniors have the next five years of their lives planned out. The only sure bet is that most will be looking for employment. But Ana Barrios isn’t like most seniors. After graduation, her plan is to spend the next two years working for Teach For America before enrolling in the master of public administration program at New York University.
Barrios, a sociology major from Palmdale, has spent the last four years making USD a more inclusive environment. As an involved member of the United Front Multicultural Center, the Women’s Center, Torero Days and other organizations, Barrios has developed a passion for service.
“Torero Days 2009 was the best start to a school year I have ever had,” Barrios recalls. “I helped organize the off-campus social at Sea World and had the time of my life doing so. It’s amazing to be taking part in something that is so crucial to a student’s first-year experience.”
As graduation approaches, Barrios has received a number of awards, including the L. Reuben Mitchell Award for Campus Wide Impact at the annual Diversity Banquet. She also gained “valuable skills” through USD’s TRiO McNair Scholars program that provides research and other opportunities to prepare first-generation college students for acceptance into graduate school.
This summer, Barrios will take her altruistic spirit to St. Louis and become a high school math teacher as part of the Teach For America program. Teach For America is a non-profit organization that that recruits recent college graduates and professionals to teach for two years in low-income communities throughout the United States.
“TFA’s mission statement flows perfectly with me. I sincerely believe that children do not choose the family they are born in to, nor do they choose the time and place in which they are,” said Barrios.
TFA positions have a reputation for being highly competitive. Last year TFA received over 35,000 applications for only 4,100 positions. After submitting an online application, being interviewed by phone, and attending a group interview, Barrios was offered a position.
Although notoriously stressful, Barrios is ready to work for TFA.
“I want to come out stronger than I entered,” said Barrios “I’ve been told that TFA is challenging, emotionally and physically, and I welcome that challenge with open arms. Without the challenges, I don’t think I will ever know my strengths and my capacity to be an agent of change.”
— Anthony Shallat ‘10