Ever since I was a small child I was always taught to dream big. Anytime someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I knew just how to respond. I would say, “I want to be a lawyer,” or, “I want to be a doctor.” Whichever response I chose, someone would either pat me on the back or offer a comforting nod, saying, “That’s an honorable profession. You are going to make a lot of money one day.”

As I am older, I realize that I only wanted to be a lawyer or a doctor because to my knowledge, those professions made the most money. While having a secure job is important, it is also important to do what you love. People perform their best when they are pursuing the things they love. If your actions are led by integrity, then there aren’t any limits to success. As a political scientist I have had the great privilege of studying the way that different policies affect real people in the world. Out of all the fields of political science that I have studied, I have found that educational reform and educational policy are issues that matter most to me. I have a genuine care for children, and the thought of inspiring children to perform their best is gratifying.

Teach for America is a great opportunity for people who are looking to effect change and inspire youth in some of America’s lowest income areas. The program is designed to close the achievement gaps that exist in education throughout America. Maybe you had your mind set on becoming the next millionaire, or owning a Fortune500 company. While those are great ideas too, before you think with your mind in your pocket, consider thinking with your heart, and accepting where it leads you.

Born and raised in Long Beach, California, Andrea Nicole Brown is a senior NSCS member at Howard University in Washington, DC as well as an intern in the NSCS national office. “Nicole” focuses her studies in the field of Political Science with a concentration in International Relations (East Asia-Japan) in which she is proficient in writing, reading, and speaking the Japanese language.  After graduation Nicole plans to join Teach for America to help the fight against educational gaps in impoverished public school systems.