Four UConn students to begin work with Teach for America next fall 

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Mary DiMartino, one of the recruits, is a seventh-semester psychology major. Having always been passionate about working with children, she describes her background in the educational field as being mainly formal educational settings.  Photo courtesy of Mary DiMartino

Mary DiMartino, one of the recruits, is a seventh-semester psychology major. Having always been passionate about working with children, she describes her background in the educational field as being mainly formal educational settings. Photo courtesy of Mary DiMartino

Four University of Connecticut students, Kunal Kataria, Daniel Rider, Martin Villanueva and Mary DiMartino, have confirmed their offers to the corps to begin work with Teach for America in the Fall of 2020. 

“Teach For America is a diverse network of leaders who confront educational inequity by teaching for at least two years and then working with unwavering commitment from every sector of society to create a nation free from this injustice,” according to the Teach for America website.  

This is a very selective program, and all four students have prepared to become educators through different majors and backgrounds, Andrea Beltran Vega, Teach for America Campus Recruiter said.   

Mary DiMartino, one of the recruits, is a seventh-semester psychology major. Having always been passionate about working with children, she describes her background in the educational field as being mainly formal educational settings.  

“I have worked a lot with both children and adolescents, but I think the most teaching related experiences I’ve had are assistant teaching in a first grade classroom and being a Jumpstart Corps member,” DiMartino said. “These two positions have given me the opportunity to interact with children in a formal educational setting where I’m impacting their learning.”  


Kataria is a seventh-semester management major in the business school, Rider is a seventh-semester biology major and an EMT, and Villanueva is a finance major, said Beltran Vega.  Photo courtesy of   Kunal Kataria

Kataria is a seventh-semester management major in the business school, Rider is a seventh-semester biology major and an EMT, and Villanueva is a finance major, said Beltran Vega. Photo courtesy of Kunal Kataria

The majors and backgrounds of the other recruits vary, as Kataria is a seventh-semester management major in the business school, Rider is a seventh-semester biology major and an EMT, and Villanueva is a finance major, said Beltran Vega.  

Kataria said their motivation to work with Teach for America was the social growth and learning environment offered by a classroom setting with young students.  

“The biggest thing was that I want to be around children, I want to be around teachers, I want to be around people that think like that, it’s also what energized me in the morning,” Kataria said. “It gives me the best space to make a difference in my environment. If I’m around a lot of business people, I’m not growing in the best way possible for myself, If I’m growing around children that are pushing me to be better, I feel like I will grow a lot better.”  

All four students have different plans to teach in the next year. Martin and Daniel will be teaching math and general sciences at the secondary education level, respectively. Three of the students will be traveling to different states to participate in the program, said Beltran Vega.  

DiMartino says teaching English abroad in non-English speaking countries is a goal she is interested in pursuing in the future.  

Kataria also hopes to teach through traveling abroad.  

“I would love to teach not just where I’m going [Houston] but in different parts of the world and different parts of the country, and use teaching as a way for me to travel, so I just want to be around children my entire life, and make an impact,” Kataria said. “And while I’m teaching kids, they are teaching me, we are spreading love, and I can do that anywhere in the world, I want to travel with it and spread it to everyone.”  

Teach for America has rolling admissions, and their next deadline is Dec. 6, with other deadlines on Jan. 31 and Feb. 28. There is also an extra deadline for juniors interested in applying early, said Beltran Vega. 

Thumbnail photo courtesy of @teachforamerica on Instagram.


Amanda Kilyk is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached at amanda.kilyk@uconn.edu

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