From CovEd to Classroom: a Q&A with Nathan Liang, MIT ‘21
Interview conducted by Alair Zhao | October 27, 2020
Nathan Liang (he/him/his) is a senior at MIT studying Biological Engineering and Comparative Media Studies. He is from Orlando, FL, and currently works on the Coordinators Team of Coveducation. He loves all things dogs, movies, video games, and taiko-related. Next year, he will be serving as an instructor for Teach for America in Miami, FL.
Can you tell us a little bit about Teach For America?
TFA is a nonprofit with the mission to provide educational equity for all children. They look for leaders across America to train over a two-year commitment and grant them the experience to go on and impact education in their own way.
What impact do you want to make?
In the long run, I’m not actually sure. I know that I love working in the classroom, teaching students, and having a positive impact on them, empowering them beyond any stereotypes they might’ve had growing up.
What sort of experience from CovEd would you bring to your time in TFA?
I’ve seen how fast CovEd has grown and how quickly it became relevant to a lot of students across the country, which goes to show how much CovEd has impacted schooling. I think that perspective will be really important for my time in TFA.
Do you think being a part of CovEd reinforced or changed some of your values that contributed to your choice to join TFA?
I definitely think CovEd helped solidify my passion for teaching and helping bridge the gap between education equity and providing resources to students who otherwise wouldn’t have access to those resources in schools.
What other experiences have you had that will help you in TFA?
I was a TA for a class at MIT Interphase, a program that helps incoming minority freshmen ease into the MIT curriculum and the college experience over summer. I TA-ed for the Communications, Writing, and Identity class. Especially with everything that happened over summer, the identity part of the class was very important. We had a lot of discussion about diverse identity, race, and how the virus has been disproportionately impacting some people. Addressing these issues was really cool and interesting, I think.
Could you tell me about the application process for TFA?
Of course. I applied in the Early Round cycle due in April with a normal application, stuff like demographic information, and a statement of information, as well as a brief scenario question. They liked my written application, so I was scheduled for an interview, and about a week later I knew I was accepted. After I was accepted, I could preference regions I wanted to teach in. TFA has this convenient region comparison tool that compares the logistics of teaching and living in each region. Usually, we know our region by the end of May, but due to COVID, TFA didn’t have enough information to place some of us, so I didn’t know where I was teaching until the end of August.
Where will you be teaching?
I will be teaching in Miami, Florida. I picked Miami because I’m originally from Orlando, and it’s nice to be within driving distance from home.
Just a final, fun question, if you could describe yourself as an ice cream flavor, what would you be and why?
Oooh, I don’t know. I’m inclined to say cookie dough because it’s my favorite flavor. The bits of cookie dough are like pockets of surprises when you eat it, and when you get to know me, you get to know a bunch of cool surprises and tools and facts about me, I do have a lot of really random fun facts.