Andrés López Schrader

From biology to education: it’s never too late

By Malak Abdel-Ghaffar

Graduated with a bachelor’s in biology and minoring in Arabic, López found his true passion after his junior year. He is now a Teach for America (TFA) corps member in an underserved area in Louisiana, United States to pursue his dream of becoming an educator. 

For the first three years at NYUAD, López followed the path of a pre-med student aiming to attend medical school in the United States post graduation. However after a transformative internship experience at a hospital in Colombia, López realized that this path was not for him. To explore other career opportunities, López decided to take a gap year right before his senior year. Although it was too late to change his major, López’s experience teaching English at a summer camp in China and working with an educational start-up in Peru unlocked an entirely new path in education.

What made me a strong candidate for TFA is my intercultural competence and curiosity… I was purposefully switching careers to education and that’s what they were looking for.

Andrés López Schrader, Class of 2021

Even though he didn’t major in education, López feels prepared for the opportunity because he has learned to manage and flourish in the unknown during his time at NYUAD. “Every study away semester, every internship opportunity, every friendship I made was exactly that. Jumping into the unknown and getting used to it,” he added. 

López strongly believes that the opportunities a person has shouldn’t be determined based on where they are born or their skin color. During his time as a corps member, López will be attempting to inject what TFA calls “bold antiracist leadership” and join the movement towards equity in education. López advises students to always seek advice because that has led him to his success. Coincidentally, López will be teaching in the same school in Baton Rouge as Class of 2020 alumna, Alexis Mountcastle, who has consistently supported him throughout the process.