Miriam Archibong, a 2009 graduate of Spelman College, will complete a Fulbright research fellowship in Singapore during the 2012-2013 academic school year. Her research will evaluate Singapore’s shift in education policies from being assessment driven to one that is geared toward developing the whole child.
Archibong is currently completing a two year commitment with Teach For America, a nonprofit organization committed to closing the achievement gap. For the past two years, Archibong has served as a high school government, world geography, United States and world history teacher. During that time, Archibong has served as the coach of her school’s debate team and founder and president of the nonprofit organization Taking Action To Overcome Obstacles (T.A.T.O.O.) Inc. The debate team, comprised of both general and special education students, was reignited by Archibong and a fellow TFA colleague.
Although without an active debate team for more than four years, by the end of the 2010-2011 academic year, the debate team won the city championship. The debate team’s success showed Archibong that all children can overcome their obstacles with the support and guidance of a committed village of individuals. This realization inspired Miriam to found T.A.T.O.O. Inc., a nonprofit organization committed to equipping youth with the tools necessary to effect positive change.
During the course of the 2011-2012 school year, T.A.T.O.O. was expanded to three high schools within the Atlanta Public Schools system. To fund its 2012 college tour, Archibong raised more than $10,000 in less than a month, to take 20 high school students on a spring break college tour experience to Lansing, Mich. While there, the students participated in meet and greets with the students and faculty from Michigan State University, Cooley Law School, and Lansing Community College. The students also attended the Broadway play “Les Miserable,” had dinner at a Hibachi grill, went bowling at the MSU student center, and completed a community service project at the Northwest Initiative’s community garden in Lansing.
Prior to joining TFA, Archibong obtained an undergraduate degree in political science from Spelman College and a master's degree in education policy and management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. While at Spelman College, Archibong served as the 2008-2009 president of the Spelman Student Government Association and as president of her freshman and sophomore classes. Due to her strong and innovative leadership skills, Archibong was named woman of the year at both Spelman (2009) and Morehouse (2007) colleges. During Archibong’s junior year, she founded Taking Action To Overcome Obesity (T.A.T.O.O.) Inc. This year, the Spelman chapter of TATOO sponsored the first annual 5K K!DZ Walk.
In addition to Archibong’s receiving recognition for her leadership at Spelman, she was also recognized for her academic performance. She was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, Pi Sigma Alpha National Political Science Honor Society, Alpha Lambda Delta and Golden Key. In addition, she was a Goldman Sachs Global leader, a Truman scholar finalist, and earned the Best Honors thesis award for the political science department.
During Archibong’s senior year of high school, she lobbied the Atlanta Public School board for what ultimately became the first government funded vegetarian lunch line in a public secondary institution. The success of the lunch line was covered by more than one-hundred news outlets, and was also the answer to a question on the popular game show, "Jeopardy."
Upon completion of her Fulbright grant, Archibong will enter law school and to study corporate and civil law. Her ultimate goal is to work in public education and find effective ways to close the achievement gap.