& Courses
Students of Color

Aaron Shelby
Fenway High School

Aaron earned his BA in African and American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2006. In one of his letters of recommendation, a professor wrote, “Humility, passion, determination and a willingness to be a service leader are critical to the make up of our educators.” He felt that Aaron demonstrated these qualities to the highest degree. Aaron has written about his epiphany upon reading Anne Moody's Coming of Age in Mississippi during his freshman year at Austin. He felt that it revealed a “breadth of knowledge that had been untapped in my life… as well as in the lives of other students.” From that experience, he decided to dedicate himself to becoming a history teacher so that he could help future students learn an American history that allowed them to see themselves in the study of this nation. Aaron has been a UTTC Intern at Fenway High School in Boston for the 2007-2008 academic year where the faculty appreciated his tenacity in reaching out to students who seemed on the verge of giving up on school.

Paul J. Grffith
Somerville High School

Paul earned a BA in African American Studies from UCLA in 2006. He applied to Tufts Graduate School through the Institute for Recruiting Teachers (IRT) program. IRT recruits promising undergraduates of color from across the United States to consider careers in education and hosts them for a pre-graduate school program at Phillips Andover Academy in Andover each summer. Paul's personal statement in his application to Tufts MAT program begins with this sentence: “On April 12, 2005, my 12 year old cousin was murdered. He was a scholarly student who loved to read.” This tragedy, as well as the encouragement and advocacy of his mother, convinced him that education was the most important component of a life with choices and freedom. He believes that he can make a contribution to urban youth by combining his own excellent education with his experience of living among people struggling to improve the lives of their children. In this way he sees his past experiences inspiring him to his future as a teacher. P.J. is also an accomplished dancer who has established an after school dance troupe as part of his UTTC Internship at Somerville High during the 2006-2007 academic year.

Cara Sandberg
Somerville High School

Cara graduated from Brown University in 2005 with a double major in Education Studies and Public Policy. In 2003, she had a “transforming experience” volunteering at Banana Kelly High School in South Bronx. She saw first-hand the link between the structure of education in the United States and the quality of civic life that she had been learning in her studies. Cara wrote, “[I was] dismayed to learn that the district in which our school was located had among the lowest voter participation in the nation. In response, I set to work with 12th grade students to create and implement a voter registration project in their school.” This experience provided her new insight into the power a social studies teacher can have to enhance skills of citizenship and community activism. Since September, she has been a UTTC intern at Somerville High School working with a teacher who graduated from the Tufts UTTC Program in 1999.

Joseph Truss
Boston Arts Academy 
(seen here with Nancy Kassabian of Malden Public Schools, center, and Linda Beardsley, Director of Teacher Education, right)

Joe graduated in May ‘05 from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in Spanish. He is an activist in a range of community groups, and he has taught both math and Spanish to middle school aged students. He learned “how important it is to parents that teachers take a genuine interest in their children and lead them to success.” Joe is described by a Berkeley professor as a “young man who grew up and went to school in a poor inner-city Latino-Immigrant/Afro-American neighborhood and rose above the conditions around him with dignity and strength.” Joe was accepted to three other top universities for graduate study and he was determined to attend a graduate school with a racially diverse student body and a commitment to preparing “reform minded teachers.” He chose Tufts after visiting the campus and Boston Arts Academy in April 2005. In an email he explained, “I have decided to come to Tufts! What I saw, while visiting, far surpassed, every other program, big reputation or not.”

Click here to read Joe's blog. 

Stella Anamelechi
Fenway High School, Boston 
(first from the right, seen here with Dr. Sonia Nieto, center, at a guest lecture, and with Lexi McGovern, another intern)

Stella received her undergraduate degree in History from Tufts. In her personal statement, she wrote: “I seriously began to consider a teaching career in my sophomore year at Tufts [when] as a member of the United Leaders Civics Program, I taught a Civics course to 7th and 8th grade students at Powder House School in Somerville.” She also taught a course in Tufts' Experimental College. Stella explains that her commitment to teaching arises from her heritage as a first generation Nigerian-American whose parents instilled in her the importance of a strong education. “I aspire to share my passion for education with others.” As a high school student in Washington, D.C. she learned that she had a “promise to fulfill,” an intellect to share with others to inspire young people. Her relatives in Nigeria are teachers and she has spent summers visiting them and learning about the school system there.

Department of Education,  Paige Hall,  Tufts University,  Medford,  MA  02155  |  Tel: (617) 627-3244  |  Fax: (617) 627-3901