2016 Young Graduate Award Recipient - Becky Barbrow '06

Becky Barbrow ’06 has dedicated her life to ensuring that every child regardless of socioeconomic background has the opportunity to receive a quality education. Becky is currently getting her Masters of Education in a teacher residency program in the South Side of Chicago. Upon graduating this fall, Becky is looking forward to continuing to work with kids in Chicago. Her passion for education was fostered here at Nobles where she learned the importance of being held to high standards from teachers such as Maura Sullivan, Dick Baker, and Tilesy Harrington. Becky’s experience overseas on the Romania trip was also a formative experience for her, opening her eyes to the blight of poverty and inequality.
After graduating from Nobles, Becky returned to campus during her summers to work at the Nobles Upward Bound (UB) program. UB allowed Becky to discover her true passion for teaching, as she saw just how much growth, both educational and personal, could occur over a six week program. She saw firsthand how one person could impact a life.
Becky attended Boston College for her undergraduate degree. While at BC she took a number of classes on liberation theology, which seeks to view and interpret the Bible from the standpoint of the poor. Building upon her Jesuit school experience as well as her passion for education, Becky took part in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. As a Corps member, Becky earned $100/month, living modestly with other Corps members. The Corps Members sought to value relationships over material possessions, and committed themselves to social justice work. Becky worked with Women’s Empowerment (W.E.) in Sacramento, assisting in W.E.’s job readiness program for homeless women, as well as providing one-on-one GED, resume, interview, and job-readiness tutoring to W.E.’s students.

 “When you do what you love, work isn’t a sacrifice. We weren’t trying to do good in the world. We were simply doing what we loved.”

In 2012, Becky was introduced to the Mustard Seed School through her work with W.E. The Mustard Seed School is an emergency school that provides temporary schooling for homeless children throughout Sacramento. Kids would attend the school anywhere from a few days to a few months, depending on how quickly their families could find permanent housing. Becky says, “Our priority was to create a space where kids felt safe physically, emotionally, and socially.” While some of the kids would come to Mustard Seed needing a bridge in their academic pursuits while their parents found a permanent home, others had encountered such harrowing experiences in their lives that they relied on Mustard Seed to learn the social and emotional tools to cope with the stress and trauma. Becky, however, has never viewed her work at the Mustard Seed School as a sacrifice. As she says, “I wish everyone could experience Mustard Seed. If they did they would know working there was not a sacrifice on my part at all. It’s a calm and peaceful place, and the staff loved coming to work. We weren’t trying to do good in the world. We were simply doing what we loved.”
Over the years since she graduated from BC, Becky has maintained close ties to both UB and the Nobles Achieve program. She taught math in 2012 at UB and in 2014 at Achieve. Becky is excited to be returning to Achieve this summer to teach. “Out of all the educational programs I’ve seen, Achieve stands among the best,” says Becky. “I hope to be a part of Achieve for a long, long time.”

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Becky Barbrow