Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri
Teacher preparation program:
Teachers College, Columbia University
Anticipated date of graduation:
Laura Wang’s family has always emphasized education and her childhood games of “school” with her sisters were an early sign that she would love teaching. In high school and college, Laura took advantage of a range of opportunities to educate others, as a camp counselor, peer educator, chemistry tutor and lab assistant.
Yet Laura was not sure that she was ready for the challenge of teaching. She earned a BA in chemistry from Swarthmore College, where her experiences included conducting biophysical chemistry research in a lab and traveling to rural China as part of a program focused on exploring the Chinese educational system and its reforms. After graduation, Laura took a job as a biochemistry research technician with the idea of eventually pursuing a PhD in chemical biology. A year of research convinced her that something was missing: she wanted to share her learning and enthusiasm with others. Laura realized that despite her worries, she really wanted to teach. “I also realized that teaching fulfills the part of me that wants to give back to my community: As a teacher, I can use my education to help others in a really concrete way.”
Laura co-founded and served as senior producer and reporter for the Sudan Radio Project, Swarthmore’s student-run social justice radio journalism program. She is a long-time volunteer patient escort at the Philadelphia Women’s Center and has volunteered as a peer sexual health counselor at her college.
Laura believes that teachers should be recognized and celebrated as hard-working, caring professionals they are, so that more “bright students would aspire to go to teach others, and parents would be proud to watch their children grow up to lead classrooms of their own.” She plans to teach in urban public schools and looks forward to sharing strategies, joys and frustrations with her KSTF mentors and colleagues.