'Am I Really the First?'
Friday, January 18, 2013 - 5:16pm

Five links that made us think this week:

Everytime I hear or read about a “First African American to. . .” I am saddened by the fact that we’re still using that phrase in 2013. Kyla McMullen was unaware, but not surprised, when she found out she was the University of Michigan’s first African-American female student to receive a PhD in computer science: “Am I really the first?” McMullen reported feeling “isolated” at many times during her studies, and often felt discriminated and diminished by some of her professors. Despite these obstacles, McMullen proudly walked the stage to grab her diploma this past Spring.

Meet Nikita Rodriguez, a 14-year-old Puerto Rican high school student in Connecticut who commutes almost four hours each day to a magnet school in New Haven to receive a better education than the one available to her Bridgeport East End community. Her school offers admission but no bus service to Bridgeport students, so Nikita and her mom Paris wake up at 4:30am every morning to begin their commute. Their daily journey includes switching between trains and buses more than 4 times to reach their final destination. When Nikita is done with school at 2:15pm, she begins the journey back with her mom, who waits for her in front of school every day. Almost four hours (and many snacks and bus transfers) later, Nikita and Paris arrive home around 5:38pm. Nikita doesn’t let her long and complicated daily commutes get her down: “it’s a bit of a struggle, but it’s worth it.”

Photo by Orlovic via WikiCommons
Fan of the hit AMC show Breaking Bad? Well if you live in Albuquerque, New Mexico, you might run into actor Steven Michael Quezada in his new school board office. Quezada is running unopposed for a school board position in his hometown. 

According to the recently released results of the Gallup Student Poll, it is not unusual for students to become less engaged in school as they grow older. The study found that almost  8 in 10 students are engaged in elementary school, but only 4 out of 10 students are engaged once they reach high school. Findings were based on survey responses collected from students in grades 5-12.

Following President Obama’s recent proposals to reduce gun violence, students across the nation sent letters to the White House begging POTUS to “try very hard to make guns not allowed.” Perhaps they were inspired by these letters to the President.

That’s it for this week. Have a great week, everyone! Pura Vida.

Want to share your thoughts with me? Email me at carolina.cromeyer@teachforamerica.org

Category: The Friday Five

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