It was my final year studying and taking only honors courses in English through the Honors College at Michigan State University. I was looking into graduate study and came across one K. Kelly Wise and the Institute for Recruitment of Teachers (IRT). Accepted into their 2005 cohort, I remember attending the college fair at IRT on the campus of Phillips Academy, Andover and being told to stop by the Purdue University table by then Mr. Wise. Why? It was his alma mater and I had the intellectual DNA to become a Boilermaker. That was in 2005, and in 2007 and 2013, respectively I obtained my Master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Purdue University! En route, I have received literary and teaching awards, grants and stipends, the distinguished Purdue Doctoral Fellowship and even published a book: The Position of Magic In Selected Medieval Spanish Texts as a Master’s student through Cambridge Scholars Publishing. I do not share these accomplishments to boast in my own strength and erudition but to boast in the guidance and advising of now Dr. (Hon.) K. Kelly Wise and his team.
With the IRT’s mission and dedication of it’s programs to assist minorities with high intelligence and high intellectual promise, the IRT has flourished and my story is both witness and testament to that! I owe the IRT a lifetime of thanks.
By Monica Reum, IRT Recruitment and Admission Programs Specialist
This year, we focused on transparency when explaining the IRT application components to prospective students. Knowing that some applicants were unclear and sometimes even overwhelmed by the application process, I hosted monthly webinars to serve as a support to prospective students. Research shows that often, first-generation college students tend not to reach out for help; therefore, my strategy was to provide an alternative avenue to answer student questions if they were hesitant to call or email directly. The webinar series covers application topics such as how to secure recommendations or how to have a successful interview. The sessions have helped to demystify the intricacies of the application process, expose students to some best practices and give them an inside look at the IRT application process.
by Brittany Zorn, IRT ‘13
IRT Arts and Sciences Programs Specialist
Once again, I had the honor of attending the Annual IRT Alumni Holiday Dinner hosted by the Office of Graduate Diversity & Inclusion (OGDI) at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) on December 3, 2019. This was the third annual dinner organized by OGDI and my second time in attendance, and each year the event has gotten bigger and better! I was proud to observe that IRT alumni from all stages of their graduate school journeys attended: Xahn Tran, IRT ‘17, Arman Liwanag, IRT ‘17, and Dominique Young, IRT ‘15, all current UMD graduate students, made an appearance. Current IRT student and UMD applicant Frangy Pozo, IRT ’19 brought her parents with her to the dinner, which made for a delightful contribution to the feeling that we were all dining with family. However, the greatest treat, for me personally, was getting the chance to reconnect with three of my own IRT cohort mates, Sharon Edwards, IRT ‘13, Amber Montgomery, IRT ‘13, and Kathy Vu IRT ‘13, who have all earned their Master’s degrees and entered the workforce. Surrounded by IRT alum who are all at different phases in their professional/graduate school journeys, reconnecting with former advisees and fellow Summer Interns from my IRT class, and meeting IRT friends, family, and peers was genuine soul food.
We invite all IRT alumni and partners to participate as guest authors and encourage you to submit articles that you wish to share with the IRT community. Contribution submissions are flexible and can vary in length. Some topic ideas are included below, but we welcome new ideas for the blog, so please reach out!
commentary on your work and/or research
an editorial on an educational issue of interest
news and milestones on your IRT cohort and its members
insight from participation in a recent conference
how you develop curriculum in your classroom
thoughts on a published work – your own or others
any news that you think is valuable and would be of interest to the IRT community
We hope you will consider contributing a piece to the IRT blog, if interested, please contact Janelle Bonasera – email@example.com.
I see most spaces I walk into in color first. I walk into classrooms, the supermarket, doctor offices and check for representation. I often count the number of Black and Brown folk in the room with me. I examine spaces thoroughly. I ask myself: What are the norms in this space? Have I dressed appropriately? Can I speak Spanish out loud? Do I have to enunciate? Will I have to use my “White English”?
These are some of the questions I was able to unpack and process throughout my master’s program at the University of Maryland College Park (UMD). The Higher Education, Student Affairs and International Education Policy (HESI) program not only challenged me to be more critical of our education systems, but also provided the foundation for my diversity, equity, and inclusion practice. At UMD and through my work at Partners in Print and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion on campus, I found the language, read scholars of color, and embraced my social justice educator identity. With the help of my advisor, professors, colleagues-turned-friends, sister scholars, and my Institute for Recruitment of Teachers (IRT) network, I earned a degree that otherwise would not have been possible for me.