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Jennifer Welch


Passaic Academy for Science and Engineering • Passaic, New Jersey

As a teacher in a city populated mainly by immigrant families, Jennifer Welch appreciates and makes ample use of the Bill of Rights Institute’s “Being an American” resource materials. 

“These materials provoke students to be thoughtful and reflective about the images they already hold about what an ‘American’ is and start constructing a new image of their own,” Jennifer said. “Hopefully, one that they can identify with as well.” 

Jennifer teaches U.S. History, World History, and AP U.S. History at the Passaic Academy for Science and Engineering in Passaic, N.J., and cited her mother as her most significant influence toward becoming a teacher. 

“She did so much to come to this country, and I saw the commitment she had to being aware of both U.S. and international politics and serving her local community as well as her homeland,” Jennifer said. “That is how I learned that citizenship is not about your formal status and that being a member of a political community carried a responsibility to be knowledgeable and active.” 

A misunderstanding involving her History teachers also set Jennifer on the path to becoming an educator. 

“My history teachers always were talking about the book they were currently reading, and I thought that meant that if I were a teacher, I would be paid to read,” Jennifer said. “I was grossly misinformed, but . . . I hope that I am modeling that for my students the way it was modeled for me.”