Michael D. Burks Jr.

For Michael Burks the classroom is a laboratory for examining institutions and ideas that permeate and shape society, like race, socioeconomic class, the family, social justice, and education.  But it’s volunteerism that enables him to delve more deeply into the dynamics of social justice and community involvement with people from an array of backgrounds and experiences.

Michael was born in Worcester, Massachusetts and now lives in Hudson, Massachusetts with his parents and younger sister.  He concentrated in Social Studies and Race and Law in America. His thesis research analyzed the relationship between American values and American laws concerning interracial marriage and families.  Michael is in the process of having his thesis published with LAP Lambert Academic Publishers. 

Consistent with his academic focus, many of Michael’s extracurricular activities revolve around race and the law.  During his first two years in college, he was a teen worker in The Phillip Brooks House Association’s Summer Urban Program, and he also has mentored Boston area teenagers through the LEADERS program.  He worked to reshape LEADERS curriculum to include richer community involvement and activities-based learning.  Michael interned at Harvard Law School’s Office of Career Services throughout college, allowing him to further develop his interest in law.  During the school year, he was also a Drug and Alcohol Peer Advisor with University Health Services, and a member of the Phoenix-SK Club, an undergraduate social club, for which he acts as a community service liaison.  In addition, coaching recreational basketball for Cambridge middle school students enabled him to weave his love of sports with service.

Michael believes reflection is essential to succeeding in volunteerism and community involvement.  Therefore, he cherishes the opportunity to interact with and learn from individuals who have been able to successfully engage their communities in creative ways.  Michael is able to develop his passion for working with communities even further as a third grade teacher at Excellence Boys Charter School of Bedford-Stuyvesant through Teach for America New York.