FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 29, 2011
MUW students heading to impressive opportunities following graduation
By Jill D. O’Bryant
COLUMBUS, Miss. -- An education at Mississippi University for Women provides the way to a bright future for its graduates. Just ask seniors Elizabeth “Bess” Toyama from California and Eve Certhoux from France.
Toyama, a third generation W student, has been accepted into Teach for America, which provides a critical source of well-trained teachers who are helping break the cycle of educational inequality. Toyama’s mother is Carol Wilbanks Toyama `73 of Sacramento, Calif., and her grandmother is Frances Spruill Jutman `48 of Columbus.
Following rigorous pre-service training during a summer institute, teachers commit to teach for two years in one of 39 urban and rural regions across the country. They are provided one-on-one coaching throughout the two-year teaching commitment and an extensive bank of online resources to help them succeed in the classroom.
She will receive her summer training in Los Angeles and then spend two years teaching in Kansas City, Mo.
“Reports in the last few years have indicated that Teach for America positions are becoming increasingly competitive,” said Dr. Brian Anderson, chair and professor of political science. “In 2009, their acceptance rate was a little over 15 percent, so it is all the more laudable that Bess was accepted this spring.”
Toyama, a history major with secondary teacher’s certification in political science, feels her education at MUW has prepared her for Teach for America.
“The professors here have really taught me how important personal relationships with students are to the classroom,” she said. “On a bigger campus, I would not have been able to fully understand the importance of it. Also, the school has encouraged me to pursue my goals.
“The curriculum at MUW gave me the classes necessary to teach social science. Similarly, my experience in education classes and during my political science internship taught me professionalism and how to conduct myself during interviews and while with supervisors. Those lessons really helped me during the final interview for Teach for America.”
Certhoux, who graduated from high school in Essonne, France, participated in an exchange program in Washington, studied in Paris at La Sorbonne IV and finally earned an associate’s degree from Spokane Falls Community College (Wa.) before enrolling at MUW, has been accepted into the master’s program in international public management at SciencesPo’s Paris School for International Affairs in France.
She will take courses to move her toward her goal of working for a non-government organization or government agency to specifically advocate for vulnerable populations such as immigrants, refugees and children.
Certhoux believes MUW’s political science program which encompasses all the subjects she enjoys has helped her in taking this next step toward her future goals.
“My education at MUW has greatly strengthened my knowledge of the world and has confirmed that I have found my passion.”
She said the high point of her work at MUW was a summer 2010 internship in Washington, D.C., at The World Service Authority, a non-governmental organization protecting human rights and promoting the idea of a world community.