The Morgridge Center for Public Service hired three new professional staff this fall and within one month each of them have already began making an impact.
As students returned to campus for another academic year, the Morgridge Center welcomed new staff members Amy Wilson, Reuben Sanon and Xai Xiong. Each one of these individuals received their bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and engaged with some form of public service while they were on campus.
“I’m am excited about the positive energy and fresh perspectives Xai, Reuben and Amy will bring to their roles and looking forward to a year of moving forward with our mission,” Assistant Director of Civic Engagement Megan Miller said.
Welcome Amy, our new AmeriCorps Achievement Connections Campus Coordinator!
Amy Wilson recently graduated from the UW-Madison in May with a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts with an emphasis in printmaking, in addition to a Certificate in Leadership.
Wilson knew about the Morgridge Center for Public Service through her participation in Community-Based Learning courses. She applied for her current position after developing an interest in AmeriCorps which led her to apply for the AmeriCorps Achievement Connections Campus Coordinator position.
“More specifically, I was interested in serving at the Morgridge Center for Public Service, because I value its commitment to cultivating civic engagement, while constantly challenging students and staff to assess their ability to contribute to the greater public good,” Wilson said.
Wilson’s role involves recruiting and managing volunteer tutors for the Achievement Connections program. Achievement Connections is a partnership between the United Way of Dane County, the Madison Metropolitan School District, the Middleton Cross-Plains School District, and the Morgridge Center for Public Service.
“With this role, my hopes are that I can, most importantly, provide effective tutors for the high school students we work with, while also giving students on campus an opportunity to address the academic achievement gap in Dane County through direct service,” Wilson said.
This program attempts to address the achievement opportunity gap, in regards to graduation rates, in Dane County by providing math tutoring services for high schoolers in algebra and geometry. These subjects were chosen as the focus of the program because they have been identified as a significant predictor for future student success in high school.
“As the Race to Equity Report has shown, it is crucial that we actively address the achievement gap in Dane County, and my goal is to always use this as a driving force for my work, while ensuring to utilize my own privilege and the resources I have to advocate for the students and the Achievement Connections program,” Wilson said.
Welcome Reuben, our new Badger Volunteers Coordinator!
Before Reuben Sanon joined the Morgridge Center for Public Service as the Badger Volunteers Coordinator he was living in Ann Arbor, Michigan doing freelance communications, primarily for nonprofit organizations and small businesses. And before that, he was working as a content strategist at an agency in Chicago but Sanon felt at home at the Morgridge Center.
“I was an intern here in college and so when this opportunity arose I already knew I loved this workplace,” Sanon said. “I love that the work addresses issues in the community I’m from through a higher ed lens, with a well cultivated social justice mindset and very practical approach.”
Sanon said the Morgridge Center is a place of constant conversation, a conversation he wanted to participate in. He returned to the center as a professional staff member to develop students into leaders that can bring that conversation and set of values to their work and corners of the globe.
“In my work organizing the Badger Volunteers program I connect students to opportunities in the city around them to advance their skill set, and their sense of community,” Sanon said.
His goal is to make the Morgridge Center as a whole a household name on campus and in the city of Madison almost synonymous with the Wisconsin Experience. Sanon also hopes to maintain the high quality that his predecessors and friends Kari Temkin and Stephanie Harrill established for the Badger Volunteers program.
Welcome Xai, our new Communications Specialist!
Xai Xiong, also a UW-Madison alumnus, worked at the University of Wisconsin-Extension – FoodWIse as an Office Operations Associate. During his time at FoodWIse, he managed events, assisted with multimedia work, and represented the program at a State-Level.
While in college, Xiong worked for The Center for Educational Opportunity (CeO) and as an Undergraduate Academic Fellow for the Summer Collegiate Experience (SCE), a seven-week program for first-year scholars entering the university. He also volunteered at Hmong events while in high school and in college. He also tutored high school students in math and chaperoned city-wide events.
“To see the impact that the Morgridge Center for Public Service creates with its engagement between UW-Madison students and community played a key role in me wanting to be here.” Xiong said. “Its missions and objectives align with my beliefs and actions I have as a person and as an alumnus.”
His job is to promote, collaborate, and disseminate the mission of the Morgridge Center for Public Service. He plays a role in bridging the gap between the students and community.
Xiong said he hopes to get to know and be involved with the students and community more. He said one of his goals for this year includes working to spread the message and work of the Morgridge Center.
“As an undergrad at UW-Madison and working professional, I was a huge proponent for diversity, inclusion, and equity and my hopes is that I can continue to carry the work that I’ve done in the past and contribute that to UW-Madison, the city of Madison, and the Morgridge Center for Public Service,” Xiong said.
Each one of these Badger alumni bring their experience, expertise and fresh ideas to the Morgridge Center for Public Service. While all three of these individuals have only worked for the center for less than two months, each one of them are prepared to help students find their pathway to public service.
By Malik Anderson