MEET OUR STUDENTS – Brittany Richer
Brittany Richer, a Rhode Island College senior who is majoring in secondary education, wears many hats.
She’s the president of RIC’s English Educators’ Network (EEN), a tutor for the Writing Center on campus, the senior resident assistant in Browne Hall, a co-teacher at Breakthrough Providence and much more.
Still one semester away from student teaching, Richer credits her activities for influencing the person she is today, as well as the teacher she will become.
“I want to be the best teacher I can be for my future students,” Richer said. “All of these experiences are a part of my identity and will come with me to the classroom.”
Since she was a freshman, the Woonsocket native has served as president of EEN, a student organization seeking to promote the missions of the Rhode Island Council of Teachers and the National Council of Teachers.
Janet Johnson, EEN advisor and RIC associate professor of secondary education, said Richer’s leadership “has been instrumental in the EEN’s continued existence and growth.”
Johnson served as Richer’s mentor during her honors project on “Young Adult Literature in Teacher Education Programs,” during which Richer also connected with RIC assistant professor of educational studies, Julie Horwitz.
“They support me and push me, and I feel so lucky to be able to learn from them,” Richer said. “They motivate me because they have shown me what teaching can be - providing space for students to develop their voices, noticing whose stories do and do not get told, and reflecting on who I am and who I need to be for my students.”
This is also the fourth year that Richer has worked as a tutor at RIC’s Writing Center, which has given her a chance to work with students and writing – two of her favorite things.
“[The Writing Center] has shaped the way that I plan instruction,” said Richer. “I try to plan lessons that allow me to work with students and allow students to work together, because I think it is a more productive way to learn.”
More recently, Richer has become involved with Breakthrough Providence, hosted by The Wheeler School in Providence. It’s part of a national organization, the Breakthrough Collaborative, which has 33 affiliates across the United States and in Hong Kong. The program has helped more than 20,000 students prepare for college.
For six weeks over the summer, she served as a RIC’s Feinstein School of Education and Human Development’s fellow to the program, in addition to keeping up with her responsibilities as a Breakthrough teacher. This included co-teaching a 12-student English class, advising three students and serving on the Athletics Cluster.
Richer and her students focused on Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun,” which she said helped them discuss issues of race, class and gender.
She then enacted a service-learning project with the students and was able to discuss this experience at a recent Promising Practices conference. Since summer, she also has volunteered as a tutor at Breakthrough’s School Year Program, to keep in touch with the students.
Despite her busy schedule, Richer also serves as the vice president of both the Resident Student Association and Kappa Delta Pi, and as a member of RIC’s Gold Key Society. She has made the Dean’s List each semester and has maintained a cumulative 3.99 GPA. Richer also enjoys running with her former cross-country teammates in her spare time.
“Rhode Island College has provided me with so many opportunities to get involved in campus life, to push myself academically and to connect with intelligent, generous and kind-hearted professors,” she said. “I am so grateful.”
Richer previously has served as a writing coach at The Met high school in Providence and as a part-time counselor and teacher at a middle school summer camp called Connecting for Children & Families. She has won several honors and awards, including the Eleanor M. McMahon Rising Junior Honors Scholarship and the Campus Spirit Award.