Seven HWS seniors have landed seats with AmeriCorps’ City Year, an education-focused, nonprofit organization which partners with public schools to provide intervention for students who are most at risk of dropping out. Hired to complete a one-year post are Mary Jameson ’12, Jessica McCue ’12, Jordann Myers ’12, Elizabeth Perry ’12, Amaury Ramirez ’12, Lauren Schwarzenberg ’12 and Chad Zimmerman ’12.
The students will be placed in schools across the country in Baton Rouge, La., Los Angeles, Calif., Boston, Mass., New York, N.Y., San Jose, Calif., and King Wood, W.Va.
“Hobart and William Smith Colleges are an integral contributor to City Year,” says Regional Admissions Coordinator for City Year Elana Cockburn. “Together, we are finding our country’s future leaders and agents for social change.”
Jameson, a sociology major with a minor in education, is currently completing the teacher certification program and credits HWS with providing her with the opportunities to clarify her goals. She studied abroad in South Africa, played on the William Smith soccer team for three years and plays on the Frisbee and intramural soccer teams. Jameson has also been an active volunteer at the local elementary schools and the community lunch program.
Jameson was excited to learn that she had been placed in Baton Rouge. “City Year is an opportunity to help support students socially, encourage them academically and teach self-discipline,” says Jameson. “I hope to positively affect students and indirectly reform the education system at the grassroots level, the importance of which I learned while studying abroad in South Africa and working in the U.S.”
McCue, a history and women’s studies double major and English minor, knew that she wanted to give back after graduation.
Placed in San Jose, Calif., McCue is looking forward to working with the middle and high school students in the Alum Rock area of the city. “I really want to use my year of service with City Year to help spread a love for education,” explains McCue. “I realize sometimes high school is super hard socially and educationally but I hope to help at least one student realize that there can be joy and passion in their education as well.”
A member of the William Smith tennis team for the past four years, McCue is the vice president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council and a resident assistant in Odell’s. She also works at admissions and referees intramural soccer games.
Myers, an English and women’s studies double major with a double minor in social justice and Africana studies, applied to City Year because she believes in the value of education and wants to help contribute to the need for more culturally responsive education. She will work in Boston.
“I want to be a part of something bigger than myself and help student’s success, achievements and knowledge transcend into their everyday lives,” explains Myers, who is the vice president and program coordinator of Sankofa and a member of both Hai Timiai and the Geneva Human Rights Commission. “I hope to serve as a role model to other students, inspire their passions, and to help them grow to their fullest potential by focusing on their strengths.”
Perry, a studio art and English double major, decided to apply to City Year because of her previous volunteer work with America Reads, Neighbor’s Night at St. Peter’s Church and the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth. She will work in New York City.
“I want to help kids realize that they can do whatever they want to do and that getting an education is a major factor in this freedom,” says Perry, who is a senior resident assistant and former Eco-Rep. Currently working on Honors in studio art, she has worked on campus at the Davis Gallery and Residential Education, and she participated in Koshare.
Ramirez, a writing and rhetoric major with a double minor in the writing colleagues program and American studies, is a New York City native who will be returning home to give back to the city. He is a writing colleague, part of the Learn 2 Lead program and served as a Jumpstart Corps member.
“I was born and raised in Harlem and felt that I owed the City that helped me growing up,” he says. “I hope to share a special connection with the kids that sit where I sat years ago. I also want to preach that school is cool. Times have changed, and the idea that doing well in school is not cool is no longer acceptable. I want to try and encourage kids to push through.”
Schwarzenberg, an architectural studies and studio art double major, applied to the program in order to combine her interest in industrial design with the desire for a more practical knowledge of teaching. She has been placed in Philadelphia, where she hopes to work with older elementary students.
“I wanted to take the year to seek an experience that would be enriching to my design background and to explore something new,” explains Schwarzenberg. “I hope to show the students that I tutor that there are fun, engaging ways to learn.” A member of the Christian Fellowship, the Campus Peer Ministry and the Architecture Society, she was the 2011 recipient of the Eric Cohler Internship and Travel Award. She also served as an AmeriCorps volunteer at West Street School and at the Boys and Girls Club in Geneva.
Zimmerman, an architecture major with an art history minor, chose City Year because it gives him an opportunity to fulfill his practical needs, but also his philanthropic ones.
“City Year will fulfill three important goals for me,” explains Zimmerman. “This program provides me with time to get my finances in order, figure out what other studies I want to pursue, and gives me an opportunity to help those who need academic guidance.”
An active member of the American Institute of Architects through Architecture Society, Zimmerman has spent several summers working with students in academic settings and is a tutor at the Waterloo site of America Reads. He has been placed in Los Angeles, Calif., to work with middle school children.
“I want to work with as many students as possible, helping to gear their mindset towards long-term academic goals and possibilities,” says Zimmerman.
City Year corps members receive a stipend for living expenses, health insurance, a cell phone and, at the end of their service year, they will receive an education award of $5,550 for education expenses.
These six students will continue the legacy of several Hobart and William Smith students who have chosen to serve in the past two years. Past and current corps members include Anessa Amer ’10, Brendan Csaposs ’09, Molly Distefano ’10, Josephina Rago ’11, Matthew Schutte ’11 and Jessica Thompson ’10.
Founded in 1988, City Year has established partnerships with public schools in more than 20 communities across the United States and through two international affiliates. Corps members support students by focusing on attendance, behavior, and course performance through in-class tutoring, mentoring, and after school programs that keep kids in school and on track to graduate.
In the photo above, Elizabeth Perry ’12, Lauren Schwarenzberg ’12, Jess McCue ’12, Chad Zimmerman ’12 and Amaury Ramirez ’12 gather together for the first time after finding out they had been accepted into City Year. Not pictured are Mary Jameson ’12 and Jordann Myers ’12.