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Political Science Students Accepted into Selective Teach for America Program

Political science seniors Yendeli Bello, Mackenzie Ricca, and Alexis Vasquez were recently accepted into the highly selective Teach for America program, a nonprofit partner of AmeriCorps, which is a network of national service programs. Teach for America provides an alternative path for college graduates to help teach students in low-income communities over a two-year period. Founded in 1990, the teaching program accepts fewer than 15% of the 50,000 students who apply each year.

Bello will be teaching in New Orleans, Vasquez will be teaching in Chicago, and Ricca is awaiting her placement destination. Read more about Bello, Ricca, and Vasquez and their future plans below.

Yendeli Bello

Bello is currently interning in the Washington Semester program with LIFT, a national nonprofit organization with a mission to end intergenerational poverty. She has competed on the debate team for three years and is an active member of S.A.G.E (Students Advocating for Girls Education).  She also taught in the university’s Academic Exchange in Prison Project, a partnership between the sociology program and the New Jersey Department of Corrections.  Over winter break, Bello worked in Mumbai, India with Monmouth’s debate team mentoring low-income students on how to debate as part of a U.S. Department of State grant.

My career goals: “After completing graduate work in public policy and urban planning, my goal is to work on ending systemic poverty and inequity by advocating for policies that help lift marginalized communities out of economic distress.”

Advice for first year students: “My advice is to get involved as much as you can. I have met some of my best friends by joining extracurricular groups likes the debate team and S.A.G.E. Joining these clubs also aided in developing future goals by helping me discover what I am truly passionate about.”

Mackenzie Ricca

Ricca is captain of the university’s Model U.N. team and competes on the debate team.  This semester, Ricca studied in Oxford, England as part of Oxford University’s Guest Student Program.  At Oxford, she is concentrating on Middle Eastern studies and international political economy. She also plans on attending the Washington Semester in the fall as her final semester prior to starting her Teach for America placement.

Career goals: “After completing my two years with Teach for America, I hope to start law school. My aspirations are to practice in international law for a few years, and then work for the United Nations, focusing on international law and humanitarian work.”

Advice for First Year Students: “My advice is to take every opportunity that comes your way. During my first year at Monmouth, I was nervous to get involved. However, I am so glad I did. Make sure to look into programs such as the Model United Nations team and the debate team, as they will not only help you make lots of friends and gain good connections with professors and staff, they will also help you grow as a confident individual. Do not be scared – involve yourself in as many ways as you can.”

Alexis Vasquez

Vasquez is co-captain of Monmouth University’s debate team and competes on the Model U.N. team. Over winter break, Vasquez also worked in Mumbai, India with Monmouth’s debate team as part of a U.S. Department of State grant.

Career Goals: “After graduating from law school, I hope to work in the field of international law, focusing primarily on helping refugees from Central America apply for political asylum in the United States.”

My Advice for First Year Students: “I’m not the most outgoing kid, but getting involved with the debate team has been my best decision as a student at Monmouth. I have met so many great people—friends that I’ll stay in contact with for life. It has allowed me to travel to places I never thought I would go. So get involved in the organizations and teams we have at Monmouth. You might just find your Monmouth family.”