Recipient of the Henry N. Drewry Memorial Fund.
Beyond The Classroom
After graduating from Princeton in 2013 and working in healthcare analytics consulting for a year and a half, I was ecstatic that TPP welcomed me back during the spring of 2015. Teaching four sections of college prep chemistry at a local, public high school provided me with the unique opportunity to hone individual lessons. My cohort of sophomores and juniors was highly energetic, and they pushed me to be the best instructor that I could be. I especially remember our lessons on chemistry in careers during my original unit plan.
One of my favorite parts during my time at Teacher Prep was getting to know the other student teachers in my cohort. We formed a great community where we all felt comfortable sharing our experiences and giving moral support.
Since completing her student teaching at the East Brunswick Middle School during Fall 2020, Marisa has been working as a Special Education case manager at a charter school in Washington DC. She is also enrolled in a full-time remote MAT program with NYU.
Since graduating from Princeton, I am now working full time on HomeWorks Trenton, a non-profit that I started when I was a sophomore here in college. HomeWorks Trenton is a community based after-school boarding program that provides academic and social-emotional enrichment to supplement public schools, empower women and build community leaders. I can't pinpoint exactly to what drives me, but I do wake up every single day excited and grateful to do the work I am doing.
I loved my time at Teacher Prep, everything. First, all the people were fabulous encouragers. Ruth Wilson, particularly, had to encourage me through a tough student teaching experience. I got my first teaching job through Teacher Prep, overseas at Shiplake College, and that was a transformative year. Then I taught in the South Bronx for 5 years, a public school and then a private school. During that time I started volunteering at Operation Exodus, an educational nonprofit, first on Saturdays, then once or twice a week on weekdays. I started working at Exodus full time in June of 1999,
I graduated from Princeton in 1975; majored in psychology; and obtained a certificate from the Teacher Preparation Program. I was the first Mexican-American (Chicana) woman at Princeton. There were Mexican-American men before me, but I was the first woman. I was really nervous about starting my student teaching in a fifth grade class at Princeton Middle School. I wondered . . .
I am the Vice President of Academics at Catapult Learning where I oversee curriculum development, product creation, and instructional excellence. I started my career in the classroom as a high school social studies teacher in Montgomery, NJ. After teaching in Montgomery, I joined Teach For America and taught social studies at Camden High School in Camden, NJ.
Teacher Prep was one of the highlights of my Princeton experience (and one of the toughest). It gave me a whole new way of thinking about the world around me and laid the foundation for the leader I've become today. I have especially fond memories of my student teaching and taking the kids on an overnight immersive German field trip. My experience with Teacher Prep opened the door to how I wanted to be in the service of those around me. It helped me earn a teaching spot abroad and inspired my graduate studies, which ultimately led me into Federal service.
I've had a somewhat scattered career. I've been a teacher for approximately 14 of the 40 years since college, teaching Math & Computer Science in HS, college, and to professionals. After two not especially successful years as a HS math teacher, I enrolled in a math Ph.D. program. I was a T/A for most of that, often remedial classes to underprepared first-year students. Won two awards. Three years of non-tenure-track college teaching, hit a bad job market, and that was that.
I always have had a passion for teaching, but did not know how it would manifest. The academic world is one that focuses quite a bit on teaching after the terminal degree, but spends little to no time on training or the study of pedagogy when in pursuit of most PhDs. I was not aware of this when I decided to join TPP as I merely wanted to keep my options open, but in retrospect, I couldn't have chosen a better preparation for my position today as a tenure track assistant professor at City University of New York-LaGuardia, community college.