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Two Pomona College Juniors Win Fellowships for Aspiring Teachers of Color

Pomona College juniors Ikeisha Daniels and Candice McCray have been awarded the Rockefeller Brothers Fund Fellowship for Aspiring Teachers of Color. Awarded to only 25 juniors nationwide each year, the $22,100 fellowship includes financial support for a master’s degree and teaching credential, funding for an independent summer project and conference between junior and senior year, as well as loan forgiveness for the first three years of teaching in public schools.

Daniels, currently studying abroad in Durban, South Africa, is a double major in history and Black studies from Chicago. She is a member of the first group of students accepted to Pomona College through the Posse Foundation, a collaboration entering its fourth year.

For McCray, a Black studies major from Los Angeles, “Teaching has always been something I was passionate about, and I realize that there is a strong need for teachers of color in our schools. Teaching is my way of giving back to the community and being an agent for change.”

Her ultimate goal is teaching students in junior high school. “It’s such an amazing age group and time,” she explains. “[The] students are questioning the world around them and seeing how they fit into that world. I am planning on being an English/Literature teacher because I believe that there is a great power that comes from the ability of students and young people voicing themselves through written word, seeing themselves and connecting with literature.”

McCray already has experience in the classroom, having taught sixth and seventh grade literature and social studies in Cambridge, MA, last summer and volunteering as a tutor through the Pomona College America Reads. On the Pomona campus, she has served as a freshman sponsor, secretary of the Pan African Student Association (PASA), head mentor for the Ujima Peer Mentor Program, and Angel Tree Christmas coordinator. Next year, she will serve as vice president of PASA and a resident advisor.

Miriam Añeses, director, Fellowships for Aspiring Teachers of Color, notes that, "The 2008 Fellows bring diverse experiences-both personally and academically-that will be assets one day in the classroom.”

By 2014, an estimated 50 million children will be enrolled in public schools across the nation. More than half of them are expected to be students of color. Yet today only 10% of public school teachers are people of color. Current trends indicate that by the year 2020, the percentage of teachers of color will shrink to an all-time low of 5 percent.

Rockefeller Brothers Foundation
Gail Fuller
Phone: 212-812-4242