Ever since John's first teaching experience, with Breakthrough Collaborative in 2003 teaching 6th Grade Math, John has been committed to understanding schools, how they're run, and possibilities for educational reform. In high school, John graduated from the United World College in New Mexico in 2005. From his first semester at UNC, John found opportunities to engage the local community, teaching 4th Grade Spanish at a charter school in Durham with Gabriella Miyares (UNC Robertson'09).
John spent the summer of 2006 in New Orleans, helping local farmers and shrimpers develop new markets for their products in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. During John's second Robertson summer, he and Nick Anderson (UNC Robertson'09) lived and taught at a rural boarding school in the Andes of Argentina. Committed to the idea that schools serve as more than just academic institutions, John and Nick worked closely with local engineers and international NGOs to raise funds, design and install an innovative solar power system. Building on his work in New Orleans, John also worked on the school farm, constructing a new roof for the green house and preparing the fields for harvest.
John worked with Teach For America during his junior and senior years at UNC, helping identify and recruit top undergraduates to commit to teaching after graduating. To build on his passion for teaching and education, in the spring of his junior year John began working with Student U, a Durham-based program designed to empower middle school students and college students in the Triangle area, which was started by Dan Kimberg (Duke Robertson'07), Mary Williams (UNC Robertson '07) and Amanda Dorsey (Duke '08). John continues to work for Student U, serving as Associate Director.
John majored in Economics with a minor in Philosophy, Politics & Economics. His undergraduate thesis on the capitalization of school quality in housing prices in Durham Public Schools was awarded Highest Honors. Since graduating from UNC, John has joined the Robertson Scholars as a Fellow.