At a local TC alumni happy hour in Miami, Florida, Lelis Ortiz Parra (M.A. ’12) recalls his excitement in reconnecting with fellow alumni after the challenging years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Energized by the vibrant spirit and resilience of the TC community, Lelis, along with many other regional alumni leaders, is managing to stay connected and give back to their local communities through on-the-ground grassroots efforts.
“It’s been incredible to see so many regional leaders step forward to create alumni experiences in their neighborhoods and provide space for alumni who do not live near the college to come together in community,” shares Steph Caballero, Associate Director of Alumni Engagement & Experience at Teachers College. “Our team is looking forward to continuing to partner with alumni leaders worldwide to create these experiences, especially with our March 2024 Impact Day coming up.”
Summer Send Off for TC alumni and admitted students in San Francisco, August 2023.
(Photo: TC Archives)
NYC Alumni Happy Hour, June 2023. (Photo: TC Archives)
DC Area TC Alumni Meet-Up, August 2023. (Photo: TC Archives)
And with over 94,000 alumni worldwide, collaboration is happening across the globe.
In Washington DC, alum Nadia Ford leads “TC in DC” to keep the alumni momentum. “We decided to host a happy hour! It was a rainy and gloomy day, but people showed up despite it all,” shares Ford. “We kept hearing the same stories repeatedly; people had been waiting for events like this to pick up again. It was special to see alumni from all over the region gather together under the shared umbrella of TC.”
Open quotesI planned a day around Peace Education. The event included a special C-130 airplane tour and alumni stories about growing up near the base right after the war. We all walked away with great memories and opportunities for follow-up friendships.Close quotes
Zeke Lyons (M.A. ’12) recalls his unique alumni experience in Japan, where he hosted over 37 TC alumni at Yokota Air Base.
Over in the Bay Area of San Francisco, alumni are making a difference in their local communities through park cleanups and community service. “One of the main reasons I started organizing alumni events is that I didn’t want my TC experience to end after graduation,” Johanna Brody (M.A. ’11) shares. Brody partnered with Julia Gelormino (M.A. ’12) during a park cleanup for TC Impact Day last year. “We came together for something much bigger than ourselves. It was fulfilling,” says Brody.
Dana Vignale (M.Ed. ’08) (left) and Lelis Ortiz Parra (M.A. ’12) (right) both organized alumni happy hours in Miami this year. Johanna Brody (M.A. ’11) (left) and Julia Gelormino (M.A. ’12) (right) organized a San Francisco park cleanup on TC Impact Day. (Photos: TC Archives)
The two San Francisco alumni have established a growing alumni network through their continued efforts. “We’ve sought out alumni new to the area and even connected with new students as they begin their education at TC. No matter where you go, TC is still a part of the journey,” shares Gelormino.
And as TC’s growing alumni network expands, community and connection remain at the core with endless possibilities. “Beyond networking, our vision as alumni includes more annual volunteering and service events,” shares Dana Vignale (M.Ed.’08). Vignale partnered with Ortiz Parra to host quarterly get-togethers and an annual day of volunteering in the Miami area. “We hope these continued connections will turn into lasting relationships where we foster growth within our personal and professional lives. We (alumni) aspire to bring lasting, positive change within our reach.”
“Volunteering within the Teachers College community is not only a vital thread that weaves our alumni together, but it also represents the embodiment of our institution’s ethos,” shares Ortiz Parra. “When alumni lend their time and expertise, they extend the reach of TC’s values and influence into places where the College might not have a physical presence.”
TC alumni gathered together earlier this year for TC (Re)Unites, a reimagined reunion for the TC Community. (Photo: TC Archives)
If you are an alum interested in taking on a leadership role in your region, such as organizing an Impact Day event in March of 2024, we encourage you to sign up to volunteer and/or attend the TC Alumni Virtual Lounge on Thursdays at 4pm ET.
— Jacqueline Teschon
Published Tuesday, Jan 2, 2024