As college students, it is important to get involved in things that spark your interest. I met with our Her Campus UCLA Co-Campus Correspondent Megan Reusche, a fourth-year English major and Education minor, to delve into how her involvement in UCLA's Project Literacy has impacted her.
Her Campus: What clubs, extracurricular activities and volunteer work have you been involved in at UCLA?
Megan Reusche: I’ve been actively involved with the same two clubs since my freshman year at UCLA: Project Literacy and Her Campus UCLA. When trying to find clubs to join at UCLA, I knew that my interests included journalism, reading, education and children. I joined Her Campus during fall quarter 2015 and was an online contributor for two years before becoming the Events Director my junior year and now during my senior year, I am a Co-Campus Correspondent. As for Project Literacy, I found out about the club right before winter quarter when one of my Facebook friends shared that they were looking for volunteers. I applied to be a tutor in January 2016 and have loved the organization ever since!
HC: Which have impacted you the most, and why?
MR: Both clubs have impacted me in different ways. Her Campus has allowed me to grow as a professional writer and as a leader on campus. The events I have been able to cover, along with the online platform where I am able to create and share my writing with readers across the world, is truly an amazing opportunity. I am also grateful for the incredible community of women in this organization, and I love being able to see the ladies in this club produce work they love and are passionate about, all while promoting female empowerment.
HC: How has Project Literacy Impacted you?
MR: Project Literacy has impacted my life in so many different ways. It inspired me to become an Education minor after witnessing first-hand how educational inequities affect students in low socioeconomic communities. From my education classes at UCLA, I’ve learned different ways that I can support these communities and their pursuit of education, and I try to implement these methodologies and activities into our weekly curriculum and site visits.
As a site director, I have the opportunity to be surrounded by an incredible exec board and wonderful UCLA tutors who are just as passionate as me about education inequities and improving literacy rates. Going to the site is the highlight of my week because I get to work with the best kids and I love building a site community between the parents, the learners, and the tutors. We’ve been attending the same sites for many years and a lot of the families have been involved with our program for a long time. It’s been incredible to build relationships with these families and watch all of their kids grow (academically and physically) over these last few years. All-in-all, I am grateful for the opportunity to mentor and tutor these kiddos, and there’s never a dull moment!
HC: What is Project Literacy, and what is your role?
MR: Project Literacy is a non-profit tutoring organization that was created by UCLA students in 1990. We provide one-on-one tutoring to adults and children across L.A. on six days of the week in the following neighborhoods: Watts, Mar Vista, Baldwin Hills and Vernon. While our main focus is to improve the literacy rates in L.A., we also help the kids with homework questions from all subjects, take them on quarterly field trips and provide mentorship.
I was the Education Outreach Director for two years and I am currently the Education Class Director. As the Education Outreach Director, I reached out to different UCLA clubs to organize collaborations at our different sites. Over the years, we’ve had environmental science clubs, theater groups and other UCLA organizations provide engaging and educational presentations to the kids. Every winter quarter, Project Literacy offers a 2 unit class (Education 184) that focuses on different educational topics each week, and any UCLA student is able to enroll in this class. I work alongside the UCLA Teacher Education Program Director, Dr. Hipolito, and plan the class topics, speakers and course requirements.
This year, I’ve used the classes I’ve taken as an Education minor to frame the theme of the course. We decided to make the class revolve around what systemic change looks like in the U.S. education system, and I’m excited for students to dive into issues that they may not have heard of before like universal pre-k, critical media literacy, diverse and inclusive curriculum, growth mindset, and restorative justice.
Along with our executive titles and positions, everyone on the exec board is also a site director. As site director, I am in charge of leading weekly site visits with my co-director. We drive our UCLA tutors to site, pair our tutors with learners, tutor the kids, and facilitate site activities.
HC: How can people get involved in Project Literacy?
Thank you, Megan, for sharing how your UCLA experience has shaped and supported your interests.