Welcome 2022 IRT Cohort!

IRT is proud to welcome 104 Scholars into the 2022 Cohort! We are excited by the enthusiasm and diligence these Scholars have already displayed in just the first few weeks of engagement with the program. As is often the case amongst IRT students, this year’s cohort displays a zeal for producing scholarship, developing curriculums, and facilitating interventions which will greatly increase access to education and equity within all aspects of life for historically marginalized populations. Compared to recent years, this cohort has a bigger majority of scholars pursuing fields in education and pursuing Decorate degrees. Psychology, counseling, and therapy are increasingly popular fields amongst IRT scholars as well. We cannot help but wonder how much the pandemic, and our systematic and institutional responses to the global health crisis, have informed these growing fields and degree paths of interest amongst our scholars. One thing is clear; the passion, drive, and brilliance of the 2022 Cohort is a continuation of IRT alumni’s historic excellence, and we are excited to help this next generation of researchers, educators, and leaders apply to graduate programs on their pathways to transformative careers!

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IRT Welcomes Catherine Wong as Associate Director and Manager of Programs

Catherine Wong (she/her/hers) has been appointed Associate Director and Manager of Programs (ADMP) Institute for the Recruitment of Teachers,  an outreach program housed at Phillips Andover Academy, focused on diversifying graduate education and K-12 through higher education professions to include teachers, professors and academic leaders.

Ms. Wong is a lifelong educator focusing on teacher training, educational leadership and youth outreach while centering diversity, equity and inclusion. She is unwavering and uncompromising in her support of educators of color and first generation to college. She has long believed that it should be the norm, not the exception, that our students have well trained teachers, specialists, and school leaders, who are reflections of their lived experiences and communities. For Ms. Wong teaching and learning is not a top-down hierarchical process, but one of co-construction and connectedness. Her accomplishments were honored this past year as the City of Boston’s 2021 EXTRAordinary Woman .

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Perseverance Pays Off

L. Virginia Martinez, IRT ’21

I will preface by saying that this is my experience and my journey, and everyone will have their own set of challenges and good and bad moments. While this journey was very long and often resulted in many tears, it was one of my most rewarding journeys. I joined IRT during my first gap year while an AmeriCorps Fellow. If I didn’t join in 2021, my gap year might extend more than two years.

My Journey

After my service year ended in July, I applied for my first “big girl job’, and I got it. While I thought this would be the most exciting time of my career, I was sadly mistaken. There is a long list of things that were red flags, even from my first day there. I had a weird feeling in my stomach on my first day, but I figured it was jitters, the rainy weather, or a mix of anxiety and excitement to have my first real job. Months later, I realized my instincts were trying to warn me. Shortly after I started, I was miserable, overworked, underrepresented, and depressed. I didn’t have much support at the job, except for three co-workers who I still communicate with. (Spoiler: I left after three months). I couldn’t take any PTO until my third month working there —I had to bill a certain number of units per week, I drove over 2k miles in my short time there, and I was frequently vocal about the lack of diversity in the organization and how my position as one of the few women of color there affected me.

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Giving Day – March 30, 2022

The IRT is fueled by philanthropy and we are deeply grateful for the community of donors who make this work possible. For the past several years, PA Giving Day has served as an exciting and powerful day for the IRT, last year galvanizing over 110 program donors during the event. Again this year, several generous Andover and IRT alumni are offering match funds to inspire support. Every one of the first 85 gifts to the program that day, regardless of size, will be matched with a $1,000 gift, unlocking up to $85,000 in funds for IRT!

Please help us to ensure incredible success on Giving Day – running from 9am EDT on March 30th to 12pm EDT on March 31st. To participate, please visit this site and select “IRT” from the drop-down menu. (Early gifts are welcome!)

IRT introduced me to a community of scholar-colleagues who have grounded the doctoral program application process in humanity.  By this I mean that I have been prompted to formally & informally consider the significance of my work outside the context of admissions. These iterative reflections are the footing that has made it possible to reach for the next anchor point with resolve. My cohort has been a source of strength & inspiration. And my SOP advisor, Dr. Stephanie Flores-Koulish, encouraged me to consider that the scholarship I will produce will do the same for others in turn. IRT has affirmed my conviction that people–not institutions–will always be the fonts of change.  

Ed’d Luna Bhagwandeen, IRT ’21

All Cohort Meeting

Brittany Zorn, IRT’ 13
Arts & Sciences Specialist, IRT

Since the inception of IRT’s Associate Program, we have been dabbling in the realm of cultivating virtual community, but it is perhaps no surprise that living with this pandemic for the last two years has fast-tracked the development of our best practices for engaging with IRT Scholars remotely. Because we decided against hosting a physical Summer Workshop in 2020 and 2021, we were suddenly tasked with replicating the natural community and connection that Recruiter’s Weekend offered the cohort in a completely online setting. Since the start of widespread work-from-home policies, we have incorporated more regular virtual touch points for Scholars throughout their IRT participation, including the implementation of three All Cohort Meetings (ACM), almost monthly Social Hours, triple the number of alumni panels and workshops, and more frequent required meetings with IRT Advisors, all carried out via Zoom. We have already seen the positive impact ACMs and Social Hours have had on the 2021 Cohort; these meetings have provided a communal space for IRT scholars to talk through the challenges of applying to graduate school as people with multiple historically marginalized identities, to commiserate over the uncertainty that comes with pursuing a graduate degree during an unprecedented global health crisis, to share strategies for managing their time, their stress, and their health with each other, and to lend a supportive ear or a cathartic chuckle as a collective.

This photo is a snapshot from ACM2, which we held on January 12th, demonstrating a moment of collective joy being shared towards the end of the discussion about preparing for campus visit and interviews.
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