Joshua D. Carpenter, a senior economics and accounting major in the School of Business, has been selected to teach in Teach for America’s first program ever in the state of Alabama.  Teach for America is a nonprofit organization formed to eliminate educational inequities in the United States.  It has over 3,000 teachers in low income area schools throughout the United States.


TFA is a highly selective program, accepting less than 12% of applicants in past years.  The program has seen a surge in popularity in recent years.  For example, according to the Princeton University student newspaper The Daily Princetonian, 173 members of that school’s Class of 2009 (nearly 10% of the class) applied and of those 29 were accepted.  Three other UAB students in addition to Josh have been accepted to begin teaching this fall, and one is currently in the interview process.


Dr. Nelleke Bak, who provides guidance to UAB students on competitive scholarships and opportunities such as TFA from UAB’s Office of the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Programs, says, “ Josh’s and our other students’ acceptance to Teach for America demonstrates UAB students’ commitment to community service.”


After receiving training during the summer months, Josh will be assigned to teach high school English for two years in a community in Alabama’s Black Belt (so named for the color of its soil), which includes Hale County, Lowndes Count, Marengo Count, Perry County, Selma City and Sumter County.  On average, 91% of the students in these school systems are considered low income and 88% of the student population is African-American.


Many TFA teachers go on to graduate school following their service and a very large number stay in the education sector.


“I wanted to wake up every day feeling proud about what I was doing and knowing that I was making a difference in people’s lives,” said Carpenter.  “When Teach for America announced it was expanding to Alabama, I jumped at the chance to be a member of the site’s inception.”


Carpenter is a member of both the University Honors Program and the School of Business Honors Program.  He holds a Presidential Scholarship and was a finalist in 2009 for a Truman Scholarship and for Mr. UAB in 2008.  He has participated in numerous campus and community activities, including serving as president of the School of Business Student Leaders and as founder of the UAB chapter of Impact Alabama, a student-based service organization aimed at providing income tax return services to low to moderate income Alabamians and at providing vision screening services to pre-schoolers in Alabama.


Josh also volunteered to teach high school economics at Minor High School in Birmingham in the fall of 2009.


He is the son of David and Sissy Carpenter of Florence, Alabama.