Eric Dailey ′11
Hometown: Little Rock, AR
Major: Political Science
Fun Fact: Eric came to Rhodes wanting to be a bilingual corporate attorney
You are the 2010 Truman Scholarship recipient for Arkansas. What does that mean for you postgraduation?
The Truman is similar to the Rhodes, Fulbright and Watson postgraduate scholarships. But what makes it different is that it has a concentration in public service. You have to commit to perform service for three years after you complete your education. That can be teaching, foreign service or anything else–so long as you’re serving the public good. I’ll be doing Teach for America, and I’ll be teaching secondary English to middle schoolers in the Delta, on the Arkansas side. Then I plan on entering a master’s program in education leadership. I hope to get my educational doctorate and become a superintendent of a school district back in Arkansas.
Have you always wanted to work in the area of education reform?
After coming to Rhodes, I was immediately thrust into the dynamics of an urban area, and education is incredibly important to that. That’s when I saw that when you want to change a community you have to change the schools. Tutoring, mentoring, and getting plugged in with the Office of Multicultural Affairs have all been a part of that. If you’re really interested in the long-term efficacy of a community, you have to change the students and the residents there, and I think one of the ways you can do that is through urban education. We’re right in the center of a lot of the conversations regarding education reform, and it’s been a pleasure to be a part of that here in Memphis.
What does that look like for you on campus?
I co-coordinate the Kinney Program’s mentoring and education offerings. Essentially, we are responsible for placing Rhodes students at different mentoring and education sites here in Memphis. We’re partnered with a handful of schools and educational programs, such as Snowden, Springdale, Cypress, Promise Academy, Central High School and Big Brother Big Sister. This is my third year with Kinney. I am also the Gerber-Taylor Fellow for urban education at Promise Academy. After a semester abroad in Washington, DC, in 2010, Dr. Suzanne Bonefas, the director of special projects in the Office of College Relations, asked me to serve as the first fellow in the new program. The fellowship is coordinated through Rhodes and funded by the Gerber-Taylor investment firm here in Memphis. Promise Academy was undergoing some administrative transitions and they wanted me to go in to assist with the transition and to help with parental involvement and community engagement. That’s something I’ve been working on consistently since May 2010, and something that’ll run until I graduate.