Posts Tagged 'Bri Cross'

Educational Studies Student Sharpens Her Skills

In March of 2017, the College of Education launched a new major and minor for undergraduate students called Educational Studies. Starting in the fall of 2017, interested students could enroll in this program geared towards those interested in education outside of the traditional classroom. Throughout the their time with this program, students will embark on semester- or year-long internships with local nonprofit organizations. Our first student intern is completing her placement at SHARP Literacy this fall — we caught up with Bri Cross, our College of Education senior, and Marisa Riepenhoff, VP of Education with SHARP, to learn more about it!


…the need to improve education in my community makes me want to be a part of trying to make a change.


Bri Cross, Educational Studies Intern

Iwas born and raised on the north side Milwaukee, WI. I attended Messmer Prep St. Mary for elementary/middle school and graduated from Pius XI Catholic High School in 2015. I have a lot of inspiration for my work and my passion! Growing up in Milwaukee is just one of them and the need to improve education in my community makes me want to be a part of trying to make a change.

Bri Cross, College of Education senior

My mom was in childcare for over 20 years and is now working in MPS. Therefore, watching how she was with the kids and how hard she worked made me want to be like her when I grew up (now I’m all grown up and following in her footsteps). I also have about 30+ younger cousins and they all look up to me. I am a first-generation student, and soon some of them will be, too. I want to be a positive role model towards them and encourage them to live up to their full potential. Since I’ve gone through it, I hope to be a resource that they will use in the future.

As an intern at SHARP Literacy, I assist with office work and programming. My office work includes: calendar inputs, organizing and analyzing surveys, printing and putting together materials for SHARP workshops and events. The programming duties include a couple of different pieces such as reading with the Golden Eagles and Pioneer program. I reach out to schools’ liaisons to see when collegiate athletic players are able to visit classrooms to read and interact with students. I also attend these events to make sure the day runs smoothly. Additionally, I assist with lesson planning for the intergenerational program. This program allows for students to visit assisted living homes to do projects with the seniors. When the students are at the location I help facilitate with the SHARP representative or the teacher. When they are not able to make it, I facilitate the workshop.

I’m so used to being around kids and interacting with them that it’s hard to pick a favorite educational experience. That being said, I’ve enjoyed stepping out my comfort zone and interacting with those who work in the SHARP office. It’s been a pleasure gaining insight from Marisa! She’s an incredible person to work with, and I’m highly appreciative that I received this opportunity.


Ask yourself what you are passionate about and then find organizations that fit your passion.


Marisa Riepenhoff, Vice President of Education for SHARP Literacy

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My role as VP of Education means that I manage the full-time education department at SHARP Literacy while working with the executive team and the board of directors to shape the overall education vision for the organization. I also work closely with school district leaders, school principals and community center leaders to make sure our programming meets the needs of elementary students and teachers in the classrooms and sites where we work. Finally, I am responsible for making sure we are accountable to our donors and that we are evaluating whether or not our education programs are meeting the goals we set to achieve.

I’m originally from Lake Ozark, Missouri, and have lived in Milwaukee for nine years. I was a theatre undergraduate major at the University of Missouri-Columbia and then I earned a Master of Science in Teaching from Pace University in New York City. I completed my certification to be a principal or director of instruction in the State of Wisconsin from Carroll University through their Educational Leadership program. I am currently an adjunct professor at Carroll University teaching an Educational Studies class about the design, development and delivery of education programs in non-profit settings.

I had a wonderful teacher when I was in elementary school named Barbara Duffy. The experiences she gave us in the natural world and in the arts shaped my vision for the types of content-rich learning experiences all kids deserve. From making dandelion waffles and violet syrup with flowers we picked ourselves to performing Shakespeare every year from first through eighth grade, she made science and reading come alive in ways that have enhanced my life personally and make me want to give back professionally.

My favorite experience working with Bri has been seeing her grow in her ownership of the programs she manages, especially the Reading with the Golden Eagles and Reading with the Pioneers programs. Seeing her confidence grow as she solves problems and works through coordinating with so many different schools has been rewarding. I also love laughing with Bri; it has been an honor to have an educational studies intern at SHARP. Our whole team loves working with her!

If you’re interested in pursuing an Educational Studies program, there are so many great organizations in Milwaukee to get to know! Ask yourself what you are passionate about and then find organizations that fit your passion. Set up informational interviews and even consider volunteering at organizations you’re curious about. My other recommendation is to have a disposition of flexibility. Working in the nonprofit sector means that you’ll wear many hats and will need to pitch in when necessary. Coming in with an attitude of being open to what needs to be done will go a long way!


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