ASU earns No. 2 ranking for Teach for America recruitment

November 21, 2022

For the past seven years, Arizona State University has been a top producer of Teach for America corps members — a trend that continues in 2022 with ASU coming in at No. 2 in the country among large schools.

“Teach For America identifies student leaders who deeply understand the value of educational equity,” said Krishnaa Pradhan, a recruiter for Teach for America and an ASU alum. “ASU stands out in making a college education accessible to students with diverse backgrounds, and many Sun Devils reflect the identities of our corps members and students.” Portrait of ASU student and Teach for America corps member Corbin Kohtz. Teach for America corps member Corbin Kohtz. Photo courtesy Corbin Kohtz Download Full Image

Teach for America (TFA) is a nonprofit organization that recruits top recent college graduates to teach in low-income communities throughout the United States. TFA corps members spend two years in the classroom supporting the educational and personal development of underserved students.

ASU’s No. 2 ranking reflects a total of 36 Sun Devils participating in the 2022 corps, which comprises a group of 1,600 total educators from 1,300 colleges and universities, and represents the most diverse corps in its history: 58% of incoming corps members identify as people of color; 65% come from low-income backgrounds; and one in three are the first in their family to graduate college.

The selection process for Teach for America is rigorous. Along with demonstrating a high academic standard, corps members must participate in interviews, teach a sample lesson and prepare a proposal for a case study on racial disparities.

With educational access a key part of ASU and TFA’s respective missions, Pradhan says Sun Devils are well positioned to have an impact in the program.

“Sun Devils demonstrate strong leadership in Teach for America’s application process, during their two years in the classroom as a corps member and as alumni in crucial industries. We are proud to have ASU represented as the second-highest contributing school for TFA for the first time in history,” she said.

One of this year’s new corps members is Corbin Kohtz, who is from Phoenix and will serve with TFA in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Kohtz will graduate from ASU in spring 2023 with degrees in communication and political science and a minor in English literature from Barrett, the Honors College and The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

There were a number of factors that inspired Kohtz to pursue serving with Teach for America, including his experience as a student worker at ASU and the topics he researched for his degrees.

“While working in career and professional development services, I met Veronica Aguilar, currently working at TFA, and Julia Tebben, who were both connected to TFA and introduced me to the program,” Kohtz said. “During my junior year, I started investing time into research in rhetorical studies and decided I wanted to direct my research towards education at large, but I wanted exposure in a classroom.”

Kohtz said that working with Teach for America in a Title I school will provide ample opportunity to experience the education industry before he pursues further opportunities in research and education.

The application deadline for Teach for America is Feb. 10, 2023. Learn more about the program here.

Copy writer and editor, Educational Outreach and Student Services


Doctoral student shifting Arizona toward a more sustainable energy future

November 21, 2022
Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable fall 2022 graduates.

Carlos Aguiar Hernandez is no stranger to modern energy challenges. His master’s thesis tackled questions about energy policies; he has extensive experience with the energy sector in Mexico; and he has served as the Delegate of the Energy Committee of the Arizona - Mexico Commission, on both sides of the border, since 2011.

Even with this breadth of experience, he still felt that he could do more in the energy field. After achieving a Bachelor of Science in public administration from Kino University, earning a Master of Science in public administration from the Sonoran Institute of Public Administration and working with the energy sector in Mexico for seven years, Aguiar Hernandez was determined to make an even bigger impact. a headshot of Carlos Aguiar Hernandez Carlos Aguiar Hernandez, ASU School of Sustainability fall 2022 Outstanding Graduate. Download Full Image

He found Arizona State University on a visit facilitated by his employer at the time, the Energy Commission of the State of Sonora, and was impressed by the newly introduced PhD in sustainable energy.

“Energy is one of the main factors for sustainable development, and that was the main reason to come to ASU and follow my PhD studies,” he said. “Another component of my decision was ASU’s interdisciplinary approach. This program brings together different perspectives and disciplines. The fact that it is embedded in the School of Sustainability and the College of Global Futures makes more robust connections with multiple factors — social, economic and technical — for energy transitions to low-carbon sources."

Aguiar Hernandez recently completed his PhD in sustainable energy through the School of Sustainability in the College of Global Futures. His time at ASU gave him a renewed sense of determination and new insight into the energy field to complement his prior experience. 

“I used to think that the energy sector was mainly about technical and economic aspects, but the social aspect plays a key role in energy transitions,” he said. “The adoption of new technologies and switching to new sources of energy affects communities, industries, organizations and individuals. All of these are social constructs.”

After graduating, PhD in hand, Aguiar Hernandez joined the city of Phoenix's Office of Sustainability as the city energy manager, a role that will give him a chance to leverage his interdisciplinary experience for positive change in the Arizona energy landscape.

“As an energy transitions professional, I would like to support energy transition processes like those outlined in the city of Phoenix Climate Action Plan. The city has set a goal of using 100% clean energy for municipal operations by 2030, among other energy-related sustainability goals. It is great to be part of this effort.

Here Carlos talks more about the experiences that him Carlos to ASU. 

Question: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?

Answer: Sonja Klinsky. She kindly suggested using the writing center and other resources to improve my writing skills. That simple act changed my perspective to actively use the resources ASU offers to help students to thrive. As an international student, using all these resources was the fastest way to advance my writing skills and my overall experience studying, working, and researching. Receiving feedback is always difficult, but having the right environment, people and systems make it more manageable. 

Q: What is the best piece of advice you would give to those still in school? 

A: Take care of yourself; this is about you. Although this process looks like you should be complying with multiple deadlines, projects and assignments, the reality is that you have an individual process you need to take care of. A better version of yourself is the final product, and this is not only from the academic perspective but should be considered from a more holistic perspective. Use the gym, the counseling services, groups, sports and any new offerings ASU will create so you can become a better “product.” 

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life? 

A: The grad lounge at Wrigley Hall. It was a safe space to build what we were building. I know that the new building (Rob and Melani Walton Center for Planetary Health) has a similar space, but I did not use it as much as the grad lounge at Wrigley Hall, primarily because of the pandemic.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: I would invest it in supporting the development and improvement of energy laws, regulations, plans and strategies, procurement, financial models, education and business models for energy transitions. Clean energy technologies are advancing and, in some cases, they are cheaper than fossil fuels. But the fact that most of the concepts I mentioned previously are not aligned is blocking energy transitions in different regions, even in developing countries. 

Dana Peters

Communications specialist , College of Global Futures