LITERACY Leaders–Where are they now?

Our dedicated staff go on to do incredible things in the worlds around them. Read about out where they are now!

  • Riley Runburg graduated her Masters of Arts in Teaching program at USC. She is enjoyed her program was happy to share her expertise with Wise Readers to Leaders as program manager.
  • Shelby Weiss attends UC Berkeley and plans to major in political science. Her favorite memory of the summer was the talent show that scholars put on. Working for Wise Readers to Leaders has inspired her to pursue a career in education and education reform.
  • Aly Bailey is a senior at the University of Southern California studying Political Science and Psychology. She plans to attend law school after graduation and says working at Readers to Leaders has been extremely influential in her decision to apply to law school. She learned a great deal during staff trainings about the extremely complex issues with the education system. She says, “While programs like ours make such a huge impact for the scholars we are able to serve, I realized that these issues are deeply rooted and changes need to be made at all levels. My experience has led me to want to pursue child advocacy law and potentially work on education policy.” Aly interns with the Alliance for Children’s Rights in their education department where they help advocate for foster youth, and the caregivers of children with special educational needs to secure proper services and support for them. Aly says “it was amazing to see Readers to Leaders become an independent program this summer and I feel so lucky to have been able to build relationships with the amazing scholars in the program.” Her favorite memory was the field trip to the Natural History Museum, and getting to take her class on a tour of USC’s campus.
  • Clarise White studies Spanish Language and Culture at the University of Southern California, with a minor in TESOL with the School of Education. She plans to apply for a progressive degree program to graduate from USC with a bachelor’s degree, Masters of Arts in TESOL, and a teaching certification. Her favorite memory from the summer was building a city inside of the classroom with her students. She said, “It became such a fun, collaborative project throughout the six weeks, and it allowed us to bond beyond the constraints of the daily schedule.” Before WRTL, Clarise was interested in teaching as a career option, but was not completely set on the idea. However, the experience that she had this past summer completely convinced her that serving students is her passion. Upon returning to USC this fall, Clarise immediately sought academic counseling from the School of Education to see how she could turn this passion into a life-long career.
  • Michaela Laughlin is in her senior year at the University of Southern of California studying Applied Mathematics and Environmental Studies. After graduation, she hopes to become a high school math teacher and eventually pursue a Master’s degree in teaching. Michaela’s favorite memories from the summer include the surfing day at the beach because all of the kids’ faces were full of joy and she was able to learn so much from the time spent outside of the classroom with them. She loved the meaningful conversations sparked by books read in her 7th and 8th grade class. Her scholars made such great connections with the literature and Michaela loved being part of a space where her scholars could share their thoughts about the world and could feel comfortable having differing opinions. Wise Readers to Leaders confirmed Michaela’s desire to pursue teaching as a profession. After this summer, she can’t imagine doing anything else. The experience also helped Michaela figure out where she wants to teach. She says, “I know now how much a child’s zip code affects their education and opportunities. I’m determined to change this in whatever small way I can throughout my career.”
  • Celine Carrasco is a senior at the University of Southern California studying Communication with a minor in Psychology. She currently works as a research assistant at the Media Diversity and Social Change Initiative at the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, a think tank aimed at increasing diversity and representation in film and TV. WRTL has impacted Celine both personally and professionally in ways that she could have never imagined. It helped her realize how passionate she is about working with people, and she continued supporting WRTL as a mentor in the Remote Leading program. She loved working with the scholars so much that after graduation, she will be a Teach for America corps member and teach secondary math for the next two years in Boston.