Theresa Pfister | English Literature

From: Friendship, WI; Current: Greater NYC Area

Pomona Days: Class of 2013, English Literature Major

Current Employment: Program Manager at SEO Scholars (Education Nonprofit)

Current Education: Master of Arts in Teaching (Childhood Education) at Relay Graduate School of Education (2014-2016)

Past Employment: 4th Grade Teacher at Leadership Prep Bedford Stuyvesant (2014-2016); Peace Corps Ethiopia – English Language Teacher (2013-2014)


Originally from a low-income background, I arrived at Pomona with a full-ride and lofty dreams about running a business and earning my law degree. I took all the classes I thought I was supposed to, and waited for the moment when I would start loving (or even liking) what I was studying. I stumbled upon Religion, Ethics, and Social Practice with Professor Jerry Irish and immediately found myself tearing through books, creating and defending arguments, actively participating in class discussions, staying after to discuss more, and finding internships at different nonprofits in surrounding cities. I had finally found my calling. Callings do not pull you down an easy path. Instead, they lead you down a challenging path that is meant for you, one that simultaneously exhausts and exhilarates you, and one that gives you a feeling of purpose that will buoy you on your toughest days. Don’t do the work that you think you should be doing (or others think you should be doing)—my late father told me never to settle. Not while you’re shopping, not in relationships, and not for a career. Take time and make some mistakes in order to find your calling. It’s worth it.