Exclusive Q & A: Rachael Davis, 6th Grade AmeriCorps Member at Livingston Elementary by: Alfonso Gillette IV

Figuring out LACY plans during this gap year can be a daunting task for some corps members across the network. Fortunately, City Year has very robust partnerships and a career services platform to find opportunities that will jumpstart a career or lead to undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees. The City Year Columbus (CYCO) staff and board work tirelessly to build in LACY planning opportunities at Learning and Development days, 18-minute networking, career consultancy meetings, affinity groups and many more. Here at CYCO, they are dedicated to our growth as professionals and leaders. Here is a profile of one of my team members who has been in her own right successfully navigating through her LACY planning.

Tell Me A Little Bit About Yourself:

I was born and raised in Westerville, Ohio and went to Westerville North High School where current Columbus City School Superintendent Dr. Good was once our Superintendent. I graduated from the College of Wooster in May 2016. I played soccer and majored in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology with a minor in Environmental Studies.

How did you find out about City Year?

I found out about City Year in the basement of our library at Wooster. There’s a place we refer to as the APEX--Advising Planning and Experiential Learning, and they had a schedule posted for when City Year recruiter Rod Swain would be there. Some people that I knew in the science department had already applied and were planning to do it so I decided to check it out to get more information.

What are you doing after your year of service with City Year?

I’ve been accepted to the 2017 Teach for America corps. My plan is to move to Indianapolis and pursue a dual Master’s in Teaching at Marian University while teaching middle school science. I’ve passed all my preliminary testing and I’ll have more specifics on a grade level, school, and science content area after the TFA hiring fair.

How do you feel City Year is preparing you for life after City Year (LACY)?

I’ve had experience working with kids as a youth soccer coach, but more specifically by just working directly with children in the education space. City Year is a challenging yet rewarding experience. I actually deferred my acceptance with TFA to do City Year; this has helped me get more experience and build my confidence in things like lesson-planning and building relationships with students. I feel as though I have been able to observe the teaching profession from a different vantage point before taking over my own classroom.

I know you have a STEM background with tons of research experience, what compelled you to shift gears and pursue this specific route?

I had actually gone to school with the idea of possibly teaching science, however, Wooster did not have a program for this. So when I realized I could not minor in education, I switched gears and declared the Environmental Studies minor instead. I’m very passionate about the environment, but did not necessarily see the impact my research was having especially at times during my senior project where I would spend so much time in the lab to find that some of the research needed to be thrown out. Economically disadvantaged people are more likely to be adversely effected by the environment—just look at what happened in Flint, Michigan. I feel like if you ask most kids where their water or food comes from they would not be able to articulate it. So right now, I feel that research is not the best lever of change for me, but I feel that through education I can have more of an impact.

After this service year do you plan to take some time for self-care and rejuvenate before starting your full-time role as a teacher and attending school part-time?

Well, I am currently getting extra hours so that I can end my service with City Year two weeks early. I have registration in Indy for one week and then will be flying to Houston to do basically a teacher boot camp at TFA Institute. I have never flown on a plane by myself and haven’t even been on a plane in about five years. I’m also pretty directionally challenged and the furthest west I’ve been is Wisconsin, so this should all be pretty interesting. 

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