Teach for America, the non-profit that recruits and trains top college students for teaching jobs, reports that applications are up by more than a third this year from 18,000 to close to 25,000.

Tony DeRosa, a senior with a triple major in leadership studies, political science and Latin American and Iberian studies, is one of the 3,700 students selected to step into urban and rural classrooms across the nation this fall.

After an extensive interview process, which included teaching a sample lesson, DeRosa will attend a five-week training session in New York City before being placed for a two-year commitment in Connecticut this fall. He will most likely teach secondary Spanish at the high school level.

“I am a firm believer in Teach for America’s mission of educational equality,” said DeRosa. “I care deeply about education, and I view this as an opportunity to give back for the many ways that I have been fortunate.”

Having no specific teaching experience, DeRosa is eager to take on the challenge of learning how to be effective in the classroom, while gaining first-hand knowledge about the challenges students from low-income areas face. He’s also excited to use the skills he’ll learn to forward his own career goals.

“This opportunity will allow me to share my diverse experiences with young people, and it will give me time to clarify what direction I want to take in my own life,” said DeRosa. “I’ll probably seek a doctorate in political science and ultimately become a college professor, so the ability to run a classroom and plan a curriculum will be essential.”

For now DeRosa is looking forward to the challenge ahead, and he’s grateful for Career Development Center resources, like the Spiders for the Common Good road trip, that helped him explore career paths that serve the community

“It can be easy to overlook those who have not been given the same opportunities as we have in life,” said DeRosa. “Just think of the good that can be done when we apply ourselves to social justice goals.”