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Why Rachel chose Potencia

Updated: Mar 4, 2020

Written by Rachel Wagner, Tufts '22, Potencia Tutor of the Year

This is the third post of Potencia Tutor of the Year 2019 Series. If you want to join Potencia, please visit our join us page.

First thing first - introduce yourself! 🤓

Hi! I’m Rachel Wagner, a sophomore at Tufts University double majoring in Environmental Studies and Spanish. I’m originally from Redding, CT, and grew up wandering on the hiking trails by my home. When I’m not at Tufts, I love to hike with my dog Cooper and visit past teachers from high school. I now row for the varsity women’s crew team at Tufts and read/watch Netflix in Spanish for fun!

Why did you choose to volunteer at Potencia? 🔑

This past summer I had an internship where I worked to get Hispanic immigrants in Boston an English education and help them in the job search. Doing this community outreach was incredible and I wanted to continue on the path of helping immigrants; Potencia was a perfect opportunity for me to grow as a teacher and friend in solidarity with these hardworking immigrants.

What did you learn from your tutoring experience? 💡

Through teaching these learners, I’ve seen immense dedication and courage. These people are so strong with the many tasks they juggle daily; from what I’ve seen, these learners have jobs, care for children or partners, and work incredibly hard to learn a new language in a foreign country. The stories I’ve heard about their struggles with prejudice against non-native English speakers have only fortified my resolve to grow with them to a level where they feel comfortable and valued in America. I’m so proud of my students and their progress inside and outside the classroom.

From the cute texts and pictures of our dogs that we send each other, to pictures of their late-night practice sessions conjugating irregular verbs, I can see their desire and commitment to this program and their faith in the results of hard work. I will stand by these students as they gain firmer footing in their language careers and cannot wait to hear more stories of comfort and ease with English in their everyday lives.

What is your goal after graduation? 📣

After college, I will be attending law school to pursue environmental law. I very much hope to practice law in a Spanish-speaking country or community in order to fight for justice for those who are often marginalized or counted as second-class citizens. Potencia is only the beginning of the fight, but it’s a wonderful place to start the augmentation of justice in our community.

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