“Exposure is important because access brings opportunities,” says Dr. Nadia Lopez, founder and principal of Mott Hall Bridges Academy, a public middle school in Brooklyn. Lopez founded Mott Hall in 2010 in Brownsville, one of the most underserved neighborhoods in New York, with the intent of building a community that supports children’s well-being while also introducing them to people, places and experiences outside of their neighborhood.
“We only become what we’re exposed to,” Lopez says. Mott Hall prioritizes opening kids up to the many possibilities out there. This includes taking the scholars, the name she uses to refer to her students, “to the places they deserve to be.” Lopez refers to her students as scholars because she sees them as “lifelong learners” and believes that everything is a learning opportunity.
We’ve partnered with TIAA to bring you this video as part of the TIAA Difference Maker 100, a program celebrating individuals in the nonprofit space making a difference. Watch Dr. Nadia Lopez and her sixth grade class travel to Harvard, as they experience a world beyond their neighborhood.
All over the United States, people like Dr. Nadia Lopez are working to make positive and lasting change in the lives of others. We’ve partnered with TIAA to celebrate its centennial — 100 years of helping people doing good do well — and to put the spotlight on visionaries whose inspirational work is shaping the next century. To learn more about recommending someone, go here: www.TIAAdifferencemaker100.org.
Words by Jesse Sposato