When Roxanne Cowperthwaite ’10 spent time abroad in her senior year, she anticipated returning after graduation. But when the International Business major learned about the Teach for America Corps, it ignited a passion for education she has pursued in Texas, New York, and in her home state of California.
“I was inspired by their mission to close the opportunity gap between students from low- and high-income areas,” notes Cowperthwaite. “The ZIP code you were born in shouldn’t determine the quality of education you receive.”
"Bryant taught me… to effectively present to a group, confidently express ideas, and be an engaging speaker. These are transferable skills. It’s what teaching is all about."
Cowperthwaite is quick to acknowledge the academic rigor she faced at Bryant and that the skills she acquired there fueled her success. “It was challenging to be a business major at Bryant,” recalls Cowperthwaite. “I had to persevere with grit and determination.”
“Bryant taught me to problem solve and work on a team,” she adds. “I learned how to effectively present to a group, confidently express ideas, and be an engaging speaker. These are transferable skills. It’s what teaching is all about.”
Cowperthwaite knows she is fulfilling her life’s mission, and her students’ success affirms her choice. At Apollo, for example, students saw a 70-point improvement in state English Language Arts scores, and a 47-point improvement in math between their 5th- and 8th-grade years, out-performing the wealthiest district in the state of New York. She also introduced a meaningful behavior management system that resulted in a 48 percent reduction in suspensions.
“I feel really inspired to be in a place where I can implement change,” says Cowperthwaite of her current role. “I love teaching and being with students.” And despite the daunting challenges of virtual learning brought on by the pandemic, “I know our kids can excel. When they have access to a great education, it’s life changing for them.”