Interns and Volunteers
Teaching for Change’s mission is advanced not only by our staff and board, but also by the dedicated focus on special projects by interns and volunteers. If you’re interested in an internship, check out our current openings. In 2017, our interns are:
Maria Brescia-Weiler is a DC native and a rising junior at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, where she is an American Studies major. She is a product of DC Public Schools and comes from a family of teachers, from whom she has learned a lot about the importance and difficulty of quality teaching, and the need for the increased support for teachers in public schools. At Kenyon she has become highly interested in Community Engaged Learning, which has led her to conduct an oral history project centered around life in rural Ohio and what it means to be a part of the Knox County community.
Katelyn Campbell is a ninth generation West Virginian and alumna of Wellesley College. She became an activist at 16 when her after a local school board policy change sought to make the best high school in the state available to only the wealthiest people. Her activist work around evidence-based sex education in made national news in 2013 – she has appeared on ABC’s2020, Huffpost Live, CNN, and in the New York Times telling her story and advocating for use of data-driven and trauma-informed health curricula in public schools. Katelyn is a proud Pre-K-12 graduate of public schools and Truman Scholar.
Marvin D. Clark
Marvin D. Clark was born and raised in the Bronx and is now a rising junior at Columbia University, studying political science and African American studies with plans to attend law school. Until college, Marvin exclusively attended public schools and believed he would go on to be a corporate lawyer. However, in his junior year of high school his legal aspirations shifted to civil rights once he took an introduction to sociology course at Lehman College where his professor opened his eyes to systematic injustices that afflict specific groups in our society. Additionally, during his time in and out of school Marvin benefited from a variety of mentors and thus gives back by providing mentorship to those who are coming after him. He has done this through his campus’ College Mentors for Kids chapter, the Youth Mentor Initiative at the James Weldon Johnson community center in Harlem, and an education non-profit called Breakthrough NY. When he’s not actively mentoring, he’s either giving people fitness advice through his knowledge as a personal trainer or writing jokes for a stand-up routine. Marvin believes that our education system should teach students how to expand their way of thinking more than just instilling information within them and looks forward to working with an organization that is dedicated to doing that.
Elena Escobar is born and raised in Connecticut, spending the upcoming four years attending American University as a Biology major. Growing up with a father emigrated from El Salvador and a mother taught to embrace her Mexican heritage, Elena experienced the true multicultural household in all of it’s glory. During her years at private school in Cheshire, Connecticut, she got the opportunity to be a peer mentor throughout her work with the Anti-Defamation League. Elena spent time advocating for justice and fair treatment with the organization, coordinating events and leading discussions within classrooms and among the student body. During the weekends, she would work with her grandmother and mother at a church-organized soup kitchen, igniting a passion in her to give back to her community and demonstrating the importance of utilizing privilege for positive impact. Washington D.C. was previously home for her parents, and Elena is thrilled to call it her home now.
Khalila Lomax is an Ohio native currently pursuing an M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies at George Mason University. She is interested in the narrative that quality education is a human right. Khalila completed a yearlong fellowship with a non-profit providing tutoring in D.C. This was her introduction to education in the area. She is interested in the specific educational needs of D.C. students focusing on the intersections of race, gender, and class. Her passion for educational justice has pushed her to work with marginalized youth in a variety of settings. She hopes to create more accessible and equitable education for girls of color. Her favorite place in DC is the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC).
Sana Makke is currently a first year student involved in the Washington Mentorship Program at American University, and she will eventually study International Service. She learned about Teaching for Change through Explore D.C., a program American offers connecting students to local organizations that work to improve the community. She moved from West Chester, Pennsylvania where she interned with local and national campaigns and worked heavily in her high school to promote political activism and awareness. She created political clubs for her high school, led and organized student protests, and fundraised for several groups from Syrian refugees to low-income Philadelphia area schools. As the daughter of a Muslim Lebanese immigrant, she has always found great importance in understanding and appreciating ones culture. She is interested in getting young people engaged in local and nationwide politics and hopes to continue that through non-profit work in the future.
Briana Payton is from Detroit, MI and just graduated (in 2017) with her bachelors degree in Sociology with minors in African American Studies, American Studies, and Spanish Language and Culture. Since she moved from her inner city neighborhood to a suburb in the middle of her childhood, she has been exposed to social inequality for a long time-but did not always have the language to name what she was seeing. Through her coursework and extracurricular activities in college, she learned so much about history and society that has empowered her to speak out against and act to remedy the injustice around her. What if she had been given those tools at an even younger age? This possibility is what draws her to Teaching for Change. Briana is so excited to work with an organization inspiring young people to be change agents through socially just education, and hopes that her dedication to the mission and experience can make valuable contributions to the team.
Varun Sikand is a passionate history student at Ranney School in Tinton Falls, NJ, where he has just completed his junior year. His achievements in history in high school thus far include competing for the past two years at the National championships for the National History Bee and Bowl, 2017 US History Bee quarterfinalist, 2017 National History Day State Finalist for his research on the Knights of Labor, delegate at the Constitutional Convention for 2017 Harvard Model Congress, competing in two Gilder Lehrman Essay Contests as well as the history category in the 2017 MIT INSPIRE competition. In addition to interning with Zinn Education Project this summer, Varun will be attending Stanford University’s Pre-collegiate Summer Institute to study “Digital Humanities.” He hopes to continue to serve and inspire his school and local community to view history through a more humanistic lens. Varun is honored to be part of an organization that advocates truth and social justice. He looks forward to contributing to research a new profile series, book reviews, and other areas, as needed. In the future, Varun hopes to attend a selective college to obtain a dual degree in the concentrations of American History and digital humanities. Ultimately, Varun aspires to earn his PhD in history to strengthen his passion for advocacy and education of historical truth.
Matthew Smee is a DC native currently studying at the University of Wisconsin Madison, where he just completed his Freshman year. Throughout his years at Oyster-Adams Bilingual School and Woodrow Wilson High School, Matthew saw a lot of educational inequalities firsthand, which inspired him to tutor younger kids throughout high school. In Madison, he is part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, where he hopes to continue to bring change to the lives of children. Though currently undecided, Matthew is leaning towards pursuing a degree in sociology. When he’s not working, Matthew is most likely talking someone’s ear off about the Wizards or any of his other favorite teams, as he is an avid sports fan.
Elena Young is a DC native who received her BA from the University of Miami where she majored in Psychology and minored in Educational and Psychological Studies. Elena’s interest in the educational needs of the underprivileged began while she was a student at Sidwell Friends. As a high school student, she spent her free time tutoring primarily Latino immigrant children at a community center in Adams Morgan. She continued mentoring in marginalized communities as part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program in Miami, as well as tutoring college students. After graduating from Miami, Elena spent 6 months volunteering at a special needs school in India. Elena moved to Colombia in 2013 to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) to adults. In 2015, she moved to China where she worked in an international kindergarten teaching ESL. Currently, she is in the process of applying to graduate school for a Masters in Education. Elena believes strongly in the need for greater diversity in the classroom curriculum and aims to teach a course about understanding race relations today to high school students. She is excited to bring her zeal of Latino culture to the Central American project at Teaching For Change.