Senior Spotlight: Global studies major looks to teaching in Las Vegas

By Page Olsen ’20, Staff Writer

Mary Beard, a senior global studies major, will move to Las Vegas to work for Teach for America (TFA) in July.

TFA is a national organization committed to fighting against educational inequality. While providing resources and teachers to schools in need, TFA equips students from any major to become teachers.

Beard has had online pre-training since January and will have an additional seven weeks of in-person training before teaching in the classroom this upcoming school year.

“I’m excited to be a part of these students’ educational journeys and hopefully bring some of my Global Studies knowledge into their lives,” Beard said. “I’m eager to decorate my classroom which will include a world map!”

The commitment to TFA is two years. While working in the school district, Beard will also be working on her master’s degree in elementary education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. This will open up many future opportunities for Beard.

“When I am nearing the end of my commitment, they have training for transferring out of the corps and becoming an alumni member,” Beard said. “They also have great partnerships with other organizations if I wanted to go in a different direction than teaching. And of course, I could stay teaching because I will have my master’s and two years of experience.”

One of the benefits of TFA is that teaching certification is not required.

“I first started considering teaching after going on the 2019 Dominican Republic Service Trip with LVC,” Beard said. “But, since I’m not an education major and I didn’t want to switch my major I started looking into alternative teaching programs that would assist me with getting certified. I heard about TFA a couple of years ago and started seriously looking into it over the summer.”

Beard is excited to have been accepted and for what lies ahead.

“I heard that only 6 percent of people who applied last year were accepted into the corps, so I am honored to be chosen for this program,” Beard said.

While she recognizes that there will be challenges, Beard is seeing this challenges as opportunities to have an impact.

“Las Vegas is labeled a ‘high-need’ region because of the number of teacher openings there are at the beginning of the school year so I can’t wait to really make connections with my students who might have not had that kind of connection before due to being in a very full classroom,” Beard said. “I would love for them to be excited to come to school every day.”

TFA’s plans for Beard and their other teachers have not yet changed due to COVID-19.