What’s the Story?

Undergrad Laura Schmitt loves two things: creative writing and Green Bay. With help from the Morgridge Center for Public Service, she’s working to bring the two together.

Green Bay is Schmitt’s hometown. Madison is where she’s learning to cultivate her writing skills. But she wanted to share her passion for storytelling with her home community, and that’s where the Morgridge Center enters the tale.

The center offers the Wisconsin Open Education Community Fellowship (WOECF), which is an effort to encourage students to spread the benefits of education around the state free of charge. An undergrad can receive a WOECF grant if he or she creates a public-engagement project in a Wisconsin community. The fellowships are intended to complement UW–Madison’s MOOCs — massive open online courses. Taught over the Internet and open to everyone, MOOCs are an ideal embodiment of the Wisconsin Idea.

Schmitt’s project, titled Discover Your Inner Shakespeare, engaged with a MOOC called Shakespeare in Community and encouraged middle and high school students to learn to appreciate literature by keeping a literary journal. She facilitated workshops to help her students experiment with poetry and prose, which not only helped them learn to see literature in a new light — it also gave them more confidence in their language skills and creative energy.

With Badgers such as Schmitt, the Morgridge Center and WOECF are helping to move Wisconsin forward.