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Introducing the New Team Members!

Our first priority at PMP is making sure that our scholars leave our summer program academically and mentally prepared for the following grade. In order to guarantee that this priority is accomplished, the right candidates must be selected for every position. From our summer staff (Teaching Fellows, Teaching Coaches, and mentors) who teach the children directly to our full-time staff who oversee that the program is being run successfully and help lead the scholars toward excellence. As PMP takes exponential strides toward our goal of ending summer learning loss in NYC, we have bIMG_9170een looking for candidates to fulfil our full-time staff that can help us run a successful program that exude excellence for our scholars. Thankfully, we have found candidates who fit this mold and believe in our mission.

With that said, PMP is very happy to announce three new employees to our team, (inline with photo – left to right) Emily Becker, Nicolette Templier, and Tania Wahdud. To get better acquainted with our new hires and how their educational journey has led them to PMP we present to you their education stories!   

Welcome, Emily Becker! Position: Program and Recruitment Administrator Alma Mater: Connecticut College

As a first grader at my New Jersey public school, I was a huge lover of books, and of dictating sprawling stories for my mother to write down. This was despite the fact that I had immense difficulty learning how to read even the simplest of picture books. Eventually, I was funneled into a Reading Recovery program that afforded me the small group and one-on-one attention I needed to unlock reading. Since then, my life has been completely shaped by my passion for books. I attended Connecticut College as an English major and Sociology minor, and completed a thesis with honors and distinction for my Creative Writing concentration. As I moved through school, however, I began to realize just how lucky I had been as a child. Volunteering in New London elementary schools, I could see the educational inequity between low-income and middle-class schools, and how this impacted the students who attended. I could see this inequity even in my elite college's own writing center where I tutored ELL students and students from high-need areas who had been given little to no college readiness preparation before matriculating. In school, we are given the skills, networks, and knowledge we need to succeed in the wider world. If social inequality is produced and perpetuated at the institutional level, then the education system appeared to me as one of the very worst offenders--the place where a striking amount of students are regularly denied equal opportunity to be upwardly mobile.

My deep-rooted passion for the written word and my emerging awareness of education inequity came together during an internship where I assisted pairing underserved girls with professional writing mentorships. Channeling my love of literacy outwards and seeing the results first-hand was both convincing and fulfilling. I decided to commit my time to helping low-income and at-risk students access the same kind of academic support I had so desperately needed as a child. Had my middle-class school been lacking the resources necessary to provide me with additional support, my life would be completely different. I would have eventually grown frustrated with the stories I could not effectively read or write, and that frustration would have infected the entirety of my attitude towards school and learning. Education is a powerful social and economic tool, but it is also a tool of personal empowerment. It allows you to locate yourself and your world in an academic canon and historical context, and to simultaneously enter into a conversation of thought and change. All children, regardless of race, class, and gender, are deserving of the academic support and enrichment needed to access and employ this power.   Welcome, Nicolette Templier! Position: Retail Administrator Alma Mater: Marymount Manhattan College

Education is the key to success and unfortunately not everyone is provided with the same level of aid or resources to reach their dream level of success. Aside from special cases, many communities fail or remain subpar due to a complacency and settlement for the bare minimum. Many feel like their unfortunate “present” is and will be their only state into the future. However, education opens up the possibilities of seeing past the street corner; seeing past financial strain and truly believe that high levels of achievement are possible. Once the hunger for more knowledge is awakened in a person they are no longer shackled by ignorance and begin to find way to do more, be more and help others around them do the same.

I had the opportunity to be tutored by my older sister before officially attending elementary school and because of her help it was immediately apparent that my level of learning was far beyond my peers. I was placed in “eagle’ classes or advanced classes and right up until college I was enrolled as an honors or advanced placement student. At the time being “special” or “gifted” was seen as though the other kids were incapable. They were completely capable! However, there was a strange stigma placed on us. My peers had the idea that it wasn’t cool to be smart, or it wasn’t possible for them to be in those classes so they merely accepted their “fate” and failed to even try to excel in the classes they were in. It was “cool” to be complacent. Only nerds tried hard in school and being a nerd is “uncool”. Which breaks my heart because students still feel that way today. Since when was success seen as a negative?

If a program like PMP existed when I was still in school it would have been easier to encourage my friends to attend; not only to raise their grades but also to raise their confidence. There was a strange disconnect between the “gifted” kids and the other students. We were put on this pedestal when all that really differentiated us was opportunity. I’m forever grateful for my sister’s help every summer. It was my own private PMP session and I can honestly say it was because of that help not a special genetic makeup that I’ve progressed and always feel a hunger to go after bigger and better opportunities. Welcome, Tania Wahdud Position: Program and Recruitment Administrator Alma Mater: Fordham University

My family and I immigrated to Queens New York, from Bangladesh when I was five years old. I entered Kindergarten speaking no English, and found myself behind everyone else. By second or  third grade, I spoke English fluently, and was developing a love of reading. I heard about the New York Public Library summer reading challenges, and decided to join. From then onwards, my summers were full of reading, and daily library trips. A move to Manhattan mid sixth grade, found me adjusting to my new environment, an area vastly different from where I had come from. I went on to attend high school in Chelsea, where my teachers and principal stressed the importance of our work. The environment emphasized the significance of exploring, and personal development, through both weekend and student created classes.

A friend introduced me to a youth center that offered after school programming, and I joined, looking forward to enrichment and fun. My experiences went beyond that, as I was soon paired with a fantastic mentor through their programs, who helped to guide me through my college application process. Through information sessions and overnight trips, I began to see that I was only as limited as my thinking; I could strive for higher education, and further myself. I am the eldest of four siblings, and it’s important for me to set an example for them. My parents have always stressed that education is something you do for yourself, and I am thankful for the opportunity it provides me, and am excited to be in a position of advice giving and guidance, after receiving so much myself.