An Interview with Andrew Frank, 2017 TFC Summer Fellow

Andrew Frank | 2017 TFC Summer Fellow

Could you briefly share you academic and professional background? 

I graduated from James Madison University in 2013 with B.B.A in Accounting and Human Resource Development.  After graduation, I moved to Charlotte, North Carolina to join Teach for America and begin my career as a 5th grade teacher at Albemarle Road Elementary on the east side of Charlotte.  During my two years teaching I specialized in literacy and social studies while coaching our after-school soccer club.  I earned a graduate certificate in Elementary Education from University of North Carolina at Charlotte while teaching.  I then moved to Washington D.C. and joined the Teach for America recruitment team.  From there, I came to Vanderbilt to pursue my Masters of Public Policy degree focusing on K-12 education.

What was the path that led you to get involved with the TFC at Vanderbilt?

While working in a high poverty school the complexities of expanding opportunity for impoverished communities were felt in the daily lives of my students.  I came to Vanderbilt to further my understanding of inequities in education, but know that solving social issues takes more than just those working in education.  I was interested in learning about how people working outside of the public-sector approach solutions to poverty and the TFC is a perfect fit.  Leaders in all sectors must approach problems in close coordination with each.  The TFC has provided the space for me to work across disciplines and begin to build the necessary skills to create systemic change.

How was your experience as a TFC fellow this summer? Please share some details regarding your partner organization and the project you were working on.

This summer I was a fellow at the Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation withinGeorgetown University.  The Beeck Center’s mission is to engages global leaders to drive social change at scale.  They do this through workshops, convening experts, and specific to my project the center conducts research on issues relevant to social impact.  I was leading a research project about the role of automation in public transit, opportunities for automation to expand mobility, and how organizations are automating.  We produced case studies on cities and organizations that are utilizing automation and raised concerns about automation as a solution to social problems.

What advice would you give to students who hope to pursue a TFC fellowship?

A TFC fellowships gives you the opportunity to take risks you may not have in a full-time job or graduate school experience.  Ask tough questions, pitch ideas to co-workers, make mistakes, and try again.  The fellowship will be whatever you decide to make of it and taking risks will leave you asking more questions as the end but confident enough to ask them.