Student Life

18 UK Grads Selected for Teach for America

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 25, 2009) – While a number of graduates were cranking out resumes and strategizing for interviews in the competitive world of business or preparing for graduate studies, 18 students from the University of Kentucky were selected to serve others in the sometimes less attractive classrooms of America's inner cities and rural communities. The 18 students selected are among the 35,000 applicants for Teach for America, a national program in which outstanding college graduates commit to teach for two years in disadvantaged urban and rural public schools.

Teach for America places its recruits in the nation’s lowest income communities, both rural and urban, in an effort to close the achievement gap between economically advantaged and disadvantaged children.

“We’re inspired by the record number of outstanding recent graduates who are choosing to channel their talent and energy toward addressing the unacceptable disparities in educational outcomes that persist in our country,” said Wendy Kopp, Teach for America’s founder and chief executive officer.

UK students selected this summer for Teach for America include: Jessica Amburgey, of Mt. Sterling, Ky., a 2009 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in history; Joshua Bobbitt, of Georgetown, Ky., a 2009 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in English; Wendy Cordes, of Arlington, Tenn., a 2009 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in biology; Wesley Holbrook, of Lexington, a 2009 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in history; Christopher Adam Leedy, of Belfry, Ky., a senior majoring in electrical engineering; Kelly McIntosh, of Lexington, a 2009 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in psychology; Kerry McLaren, of Franklin, Ky., a 2009 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in music; Taylor Miller, of Owensboro, Ky., a 2009 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in secondary English education; Emily Parsley, of Oakland, Ky., a 2009 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and economics; Benjamin Phillips, of Elk Horn, Ky., a 2008 graduate with a bachelor's degree in foreign languages and international economics; Krista Rogers, of Elizabethtown, Ky., a 2009 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in sociologyZachery Salchli, of Frankfort, Ky., a 2009 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology; Elizabeth Schrader, of Lexington, a 2008 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in integrated strategic communication; Lauren Sexauer, of Columbia, Mo., a 2009 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in political science and management; Carmen Timmerding, of Ft. Thomas, Ky., a 2009 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish; Jessica Warren, of Lexington, a 2009 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in economics and marketing; Chris Wraley, of Zionsville, Ind., a 2009 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in marketing; and Amanda Zimny, of LaGrange, Ill., a 2009 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in secondary social studies education.

The 2009 Teach for America corps members will be placed in teaching positions at elementary or secondary schools in one of 35 urban and rural regions across the country served by the program.

Teach for America recruited students at more than 450 college campuses and received approximately 35,000 applications in 2009. The organization selected 4,100 corps members. Students recruited by the highly selective program have an average grade point average of 3.6, and 89 percent of them have held leadership positions on campus.

Teach for America participants receive a first-year teacher's salary and are awarded a sum of $4,725 from AmeriCorps for each year of participation. The award can be applied to loans or the pursuit of further education. Other benefits are intrinsic to the service experience itself.