In Conversation With: Maryalice Aymong, Host of WAF’s Podcast: Listen, Ladies
For the last year and a half, Maryalice Aymong has been the host of Listen Ladies,Women Across Frontiers’s podcast that showcases interviews with experts and innovators in a broad range of fields. Maryalice has also worked as a national TV producer for a variety of programs including the popular “CBS This Morning” show.
In addition to her degree in journalism, Maryalice has a master’s degree in Global Affairs from New York University. It is at NYU that she studied with Professor Sylvia Maier, one of WAF’s two founders. Sylvia eventually became Maryalice’s thesis advisor and encouraged her to join the team of Women Across Frontiers due to Maryalice’s passion for women’s issues.
This summer Maryalice decided to leave her job at CBS and move from NY to Kansas City to become a 2ndgrade teacher for Teach For America, an AmeriCorps program that places teachers in low-income schools across the country. Fortunately for WAF and for our audience, she will continue to host Listen, Ladiesonce a month.
We asked Maryalice about this big change in her life; below is our interview with her:
WAF: What made you decide to make such a big change in your career?
MA: It was definitely a really big shift! And it was kind of a combination of factors that informed my decision. The news business has been very rewarding in that I’ve met and worked with some incredible people and learned how to work fast and deliver results under a lot of pressure. But I wanted to see how I could use the skills I had gained in a more public service-oriented way. Initially, I considered policy or communications roles, but more and more, I realized that I wanted to work with children and help them find their own voices and passions. Teach for America’s mission aligned with my own views, so applying and taking the leap was a natural next step.
WAF: Teach for America works toward educational equity across the US. What do you hope to impart to your students?
MA: I’m already convinced I will learn as much from my students as they learn from me! In the U.S., one’s zip code plays a big role in the quality of education available. My main goal as a teacher will be to do everything I can to help my students grow academically and to figure out what interests them and how they can channel that into a successful future. I want to instill in my students the sense that their voices matter and that they have the potential to contribute to the community around them in so many ways.
WAF: You just did an interview for CBS with Mandy Manning, the 2018 National Teacher of the Year. Did you ask for any advice?
MA: I did! Mandy’s approach to teaching is so student-centered, and she works hard to meet students where they are individually and to teach in ways that resonate with their experiences. This is something that I definitely want to prioritize in my own classroom. Kids need to know how to read, write, and do math, and I want to help them meet high standards and expectations by responding to their individual needs. Obviously this is not an easy goal to achieve, but if I can approach them with that mindset every day, I believe it will have a positive impact on my class.
WAF: How do you see yourself in the future? Would you consider coming back to NY?
MA: No idea! If you had told me a few years back that I would be living in Kansas and teaching second grade, I might not have believed you. I’m excited about this new chapter, and we will see what happens!