Ebenezer (Ben) Keane Rudolph thought he would like to be a teacher – an idea friends and his pastor encouraged because of his interest in working with youth at his church and his Woodbury, Minnesota community.
But because he wasn’t quite sure, after he graduated from high school, he joined the City Year program and came to Milwaukee to work in the public schools.
“After my first year, I knew I wanted to teach and I wanted to teach here in Milwaukee,” says Keane-Rudolph, now heading into his junior year at UWM.
Keane-Rudolph, who was with City Year for two years, is one of a number of alumni of that program who have come to the School of Education to earn a degree.
This year, UWM and City Year Milwaukee established a partnership that will further encourage these young people to follow their alternative pathway into education.
City Year, which currently operates in 28 U.S. cities, sends AmeriCorps members into high-need schools to help students stay on track through graduation. Last year, City Year Milwaukee corps members provided tutoring, mentoring and classroom assistance to more than 7,400 students in 11 Milwaukee Public Schools.
Through the partnership, City Year AmeriCorps members and alumni are eligible for one of five renewable $2,000 School of Education annual scholarships. This is the first agreement of its kind with a Wisconsin university that City Year has established.
“City Year corps members spend a year exploring and affirming their commitment to education,” says Robert Longwell-Grice, senior adviser in the School of Education’s Office of Student Services. “UWM SOE values this experience because our mission is to prepare high caliber educators to serve the students in the region in a variety of careers, including teaching.”
Keane-Rudolph sees the need for more African American males in the teaching profession, and is pleased that this partnership is offering others like him a chance to experience the field.
“City Year allowed me to see what I was getting into, especially if I wanted to work in MPS,” he says. “And it showed me that I not only wanted to be a teacher, but wanted to work with middle school students because middle school is such an important and pivotal point in a child’s life.”
Aleksandra Gawlik is another alumna of City Year who came to UWM. After graduating from Pomona College in California with a linguistics and cognitive sciences degree, she wasn’t quite sure where she wanted to go with a career when she joined City Year.
After starting out in special education at UWM, she’s hoping to eventually enroll in community education through the Cultural Foundations of Education master’s program.
“UWM is one of the few schools that have a community education program, and it seemed a good way to use my own strengths and passions to meet the needs of students,” Gawlik says.
City Year is excited about the partnership’s benefits. “An increasing number of our corps members are interested in a career in education after their year of service, and we are excited that UWM’s School of Education is offering scholarships to our diverse and talented alumni,” says Meralis Hood, managing director of impact for City Year Milwaukee.
If you would like to help fund Community Engagement, please visit the Give to UWM webpage.
Or contact Carol Wacker at (414) 229-3080 or firstname.lastname@example.org to explore opportunities to support students, ensure research excellence and enable ongoing collaborations with community schools and organizations.