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A calling to give back

Northeastern senior Amanda Britton, who has worked for two years with disadvantaged youth through several Northeastern University community programs, has won a competitive teaching job with the national nonprofit Teach for America.

For two years after graduating this spring, she’ll be teaching math in the Baltimore public schools.

A psychology major, Britton hadn’t considered a career in teaching until an observer of her mentoring work encouraged her in that direction.

“I was told I was crazy if I didn’t become a teacher,” she said.

She decided to apply to Teach for America after finding her interests closely matched the mission of the organization, which places college graduates in teaching positions in low-income communities.

Britton is among a select few to be offered a job with Teach for America. Although this year’s figures aren’t available, last year just 12 percent of the 46,000 students who applied were accepted, said Kaitlin Gasrock, spokesperson for the nonprofit.

During a co-op last spring with Northeastern’s Youth Development Initiative Project, Britton tutored teens from low-income Boston families, tracking their grades and intervening with teachers, parents and counselors to solve academic problems. She also taught classes on how to write college-level essays and how to prepare for the SAT vocabulary test.

She also has put in 80 hours of volunteer work over the past year for Strong Women Strong Girls, which empowers women and girls through community involvement and social awareness.

Britton said she’s excited about her new teaching opportunity. “I’ve always wanted to help people,” she said. “We didn’t have a lot of money growing up. I didn’t live in poverty per se, but my mom cleans houses and my dad’s a mechanic. My teachers motivated me, and my parents motivated me. I wanted to give back.”