Tyler Tolman ’18 can see some big choices in his future. He sees himself working in education, but he’s not sure exactly where he’ll land.
“Education is a pretty large field,” he says.
He’s seeing one part of it now in the job he took after graduating from Earlham. Tolman works now as a coach with College Possible in Philadelphia, a program that works to improve college access and success for low-income students.
“As of now, 100 percent of my students have successfully applied to college, and we’re investing the majority of our time in scholarship applications and making those final decisions,” he says. Coaches provide SAT preparation and help equip students with resources and information before they begin filling out college, scholarship and financial aid applications. He says his work with College Possible has helped drive him toward K-12 education.
What’s next? He’s planning to teach Spanish for a few years as part of Teach for America Greater Philadelphia. Perhaps after that, graduate studies.
“I'm intrigued by the idea of educational leadership,” he says. “I would like to gain the necessary experience to eventually effect change in the distribution of resources and the nature of curriculum and school performance evaluation. I'd also like to pursue a Ph.D. in Spanish. There are some choices to make.”
At Earlham, Tolman majored in History and in Spanish & Hispanic Studies.
“Earlham gave me a great education,” he says. He points to the close relationships he was able to build with professors and the unique opportunities that Earlham offers. “I reflect on my education fondly, and this positive experience with my undergraduate institution informs my belief that every student deserves a quality education as well as the chance to pursue higher education.”
He considers Earlham professors to be its greatest strength.
“The relationships built between students and professors at Earlham proves unparalleled,” he says. “I consider my education rewarding because of their individualized attention, genuine support and personal investment in my growth.”
While on campus, Tolman kept busy. He was an active member of the Earlham Historical Journal, sang as part of an a cappella singing group, and danced as a member of Dance Alloy. He worked as a teaching assistant for the Spanish Department, writing consultant in the Writing Center, and lifeguard at the Athletic and Wellness Center. He served as a student representative on the Campus Life Advisory Committee as well as the Student Faculty Affairs Committee. He volunteered at the Amigos Latino Center, served as vice president of Earlham Student Government, and served as co-editor of the Earlham Word.
It was during a campus visit as a high school student when he discovered Earlham’s welcoming community and found the “overall vibe of the campus refreshing.”
“Earlham seemed like a special place with an increasingly rare emphasis on a liberal arts education,” he says. “I believe that a liberal arts education encourages students to develop critical thinking skills. We learn to provide an interdisciplinary perspective, and this balance is incredibly valuable, especially as higher education struggles to render itself more vocational or STEM-centered.”