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Travis' Story


I always understood the value of education and the power it can give to marginalized groups. I was born to Guyanese immigrants in Queens, NY. Five years later, my family, alongside many Guyanese immigrants, moved to Schenectady, NY – part of the effort to revitalize Schenectady’s economy. In Schenectady schools, I faced the constant pressure to choose between education and culture. Despite this conflict, I attended Cornell University – at sixteen years old – and graduated with a B.A. in Government and Anthropology and minors in Education, Inequality, Law, and Policy Analysis. Through my coursework, I studied the ways the opportunity gap manifests throughout society. My experience as a first-generation/low-income student transformed my studies into action, as I became a Policy and Advocacy Mobilizer and President of the First-generation Student Union. I helped create the Student Assembly’s First-generation Representative and represented my community at meetings with administration. Upon graduating, I continued my fight for educational equity by joining Teach for America. I taught high school social studies in Brooklyn while pursuing my M.A.T. in Social Studies Education at Relay Graduate School. As an educator, I implemented multicultural education practices so my students could see themselves in their curriculum. To further engage students in global history, my class was centered around rigorous performance tasks such as podcasts, speeches, historical fiction, and more. Now, I am a Lead For America Hometown Fellow. I returned to Schenectady to continue advocating for marginalized student groups. I will serve as an advocate for students in the Yates Village Revitalization Project. I will also be conducting research to help the school district find better ways to support its large Caribbean student population. I hope to transform my identity and past experiences into powerful weapons to make systemic change so that all students can receive an equitable education.