Student and Academic Life

9 UK Grads to Teach For America

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photo of teacher visiting with 3 elementary school kids at table
Abby Conboy in front of body of water
headshot photo of Julia Liss
photo of Parker Michel in front of tree
photo of Kellie Patrick in cap and gown outside Memorial Hall
photo of Hannah Scinta in front of stairs at Student Center
headshot photo of Sydney Sims in cap and gown outside Student Center
photo of Susie Smith outside Student Center
headshot photo of Emily Stoker in cap and gown

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 22, 2019) As students across the nation head back to school this fall, so will nine recent graduates of the University of Kentucky who have embarked on a new journey teaching in America's inner cities and rural communities. This select group of Wildcats is among the new 2019 corps members chosen to serve in Teach For America, a national program in which outstanding college graduates commit to teach for two years in disadvantaged urban and rural schools. 

Teach For America places its recruits in the nation's highest-need elementary and secondary schools in many of the country's lowest income communities, both rural and urban, in an effort to close the achievement gap between economically advantaged and disadvantaged children.

 The nine recent UK graduates selected to serve Teach For America are:

  • Abigail Conboy, of Lagrange, Illinois, a history graduate who will serve in Colorado Springs, Colorado;
  • Anne Klette, of Cincinnati, Ohio, a Chellgren Fellow and English and political science graduate who will serve in the Greater Boston Area of Massachusetts;
  • Julia Liss, of Hinsdale, Illinois, a secondary social studies education graduate who will serve in Baltimore, Maryland;
  • Parker Michel, of Chicago, Illinois, a 2018 history graduate who will serve in Indianapolis, Indiana;
  • Kellie Patrick, of Hazard, Kentucky, a family sciences graduate who will serve in San Antonio, Texas;
  • Hannah Scinta, of Louisville, Kentucky, a political science graduate who will serve in Baltimore;
  • Sydney Sims, of Louisville, a 2018 communication and Spanish graduate who will serve in Jacksonville, Florida;
  • Stephanie "Susie" Smith, of Lexington, a Chellgren Fellow and political science graduate who will serve in the Greater Boston Area of Massachusetts; and
  • Emily Stoker, of Cincinnati, a 2018 elementary education graduate who will serve in St. Louis, Missouri.

Parker Michel was thrilled to be selected for Teach For America. "I am part of an incredible organization that is fighting for educational excellence and equity. This opportunity means that I will have an amazing foundation as an educator, one that will push me to always think critically about the state of education in this nation, and one that will push me to always put my students first."

Susie Smith agreed, "I am most excited to have the opportunity to gain experience in the classroom while being supported by other corps members and staff members who have a similar passion for equity in different spaces. I know that my relationships with students will change me, and I can't wait to go love on some kiddos (and teach them math)!"

Teach For America participants receive a first-year teacher's salary and are awarded an AmeriCorps education grant between $5,300 to $6,100 for each year of participation during their two-year commitment (dependent on appropriations). The award can be applied to student loans or the pursuit of further education.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion two years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. The Chronicle of Higher Education judged us a “Great College to Work for," and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for three straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.