Linfield student joins Teach for America

After a three-month application process, senior Nadia Abraibesh became a corps member of Teach for America.
“I was a little shocked when I found out, because I had been mentally preparing myself to hear that I was not accepted,” Abraibesh said.
She said she hasn’t ever heard of anyone else at Linfield who was accepted.
“Nadia has all the qualities they’re looking for,” Deborah Olsen, competitive scholarships adviser and instructor in history, said via e-mail. “I was delighted she was selected for this wonderful program.”
According to the Teach for America website, the program aims to end educational inequity — the reality that where a child is born determines his or her educational outcomes and life prospects in the United States. The program recruits outstanding recent college graduates from all backgrounds and career interests to teach in urban and rural public schools for two years.
In 2009, more than 35,000 individuals applied to Teach For America, the largest amount of applications in the 19-year history of the program. Only 15 percent of applicants were accepted.
“Most applicants are not education majors, so it will be interesting,” Abraibesh said.
She also said that she spent an entire week focused on preparing complex applications and sending them out before the deadline in February. About 50 percent of applicants are selected to participate in the final interview.
Abraibesh said her final interview lasted from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Twelve applicants, as a group, took a five-minute geographic exam, participated in problem solving and reflection activities, answered multiple-choice questions, wrote an essay and, finally, had an hour-long solo interview.
“It’s a lot,” she said. “But [the full-day] interview let me know the interviewers better. I feel I expressed myself better.”
Before her acceptance for Teach for America, Abraibesh had decided to go to Libya to learn Arabic and hopefully serve as a teacher’s assistant at a British school after graduation.
Because of a conflict between interview dates for 2011 corps members and her trip to Libya, she said she e-mailed Teach for America officials, and they advised her to apply for the 2010 Corps and then defer if she was accepted.
As for tips on how to be accepted by Teach for America, Abraibesh suggested having excellent leadership experiences, portraying yourself with passion during the interview and believing in the program’s purpose — to end educational inequality.
Yin Xiao
Culture editor Yin Xiao can be reached at

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