A few weeks ago we did a blog post about the staff at GCFLearnFree.org. I realized that we had never really talked that much about who the GCFLearnFree.org team is and how we all work together to create the educational content you know and love. In an effort to help you get to know us a little better, I thought we’d do a series of blog posts about the staff, starting with our Curriculum Writer/Instructional Designer, Elizabeth.
What led you to working at GCFLearnFree.org?
“I really started working on writing as a craft in high school, when I attended the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, a public residential high school in my home state. After college, I served a year with AmeriCorps, working with primary school students in St. Augustine, Florida. I loved it– it was such a privilege to be part of an organization that was serving the community.
“After my AmeriCorps term was up, my friend Julianna, who works here as a videographer, told me that GCFLearnFree had a position open for a writer/curriculum designer. I’d known for a while that I’d be happy with my next job if I could either write, or work for an organization that worked to help others. I never imagined that I’d be able to do both! I feel so lucky that I get to work here.”
What project are you most proud of while working here?
“Our reading program– it’s an adult literacy resource that contains texts, videos, and activities for 1,000 common English words. Most of the people in our office played some part in it, and I’m so impressed by the final product. The gorgeous videos from our videographers, the great, intuitive interface our programmers built, the illustrations our artist did, which are so fun and perfect for the program– all of it just comes together so well.
“I did the writing with the help of Bronwen, one of our screencasters. The project was daunting at first– how do you write dozens of simple 160-word paragraphs using specific vocabulary of words without them coming out like something out of an elementary school reading lesson? It took a lot of work, but I think the final texts are surprisingly funny and entertaining. I hope that the people using this program have as much fun with it as I did.”
What is your favorite thing about working at GCFLearnFree.org?
“My co-workers! They’re all so creative and talented, and I love seeing the things they do for the site. Plus, they’re all a lot of fun to be around– everyone is pretty goofy.”
What’s one thing you wish people knew about GCFLearnFree.org?
“I wish more people knew that it existed! We get so much feedback from learners who talk about how surprised and grateful they are to find a free resource like this. I’ve even heard it from people I know personally– one friend who took our Access course told me she had no idea that she could find such useful material online. We have a lot of people using the site already, but I think there are many more people who would benefit from it if they just knew it was out there. (So… tell your friends!)”
What is something that not a lot of people know about you but you WISH more people COULD know?
“I am mildly obsessed with fancy/garish basketball shoes, especially NBA player editions. Seriously. One perk to being a lady: I can buy LeBrons and Jordans in boys’ sizes. (They’re much cheaper than the mens’ versions. Really!)”
What is your favorite pop culture series?
“For a long time, it would have been a choice between the TV shows Battlestar Galactica and Lost… that is, until I saw their series finales. Now, I’d definitely say George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire books. After watching Game of Thrones this spring, I spent the summer devouring all of the books, maybe a little bit too quickly. Now I’m waiting for Bronwen to finish the most recent one so I’ll have someone to talk about it with!”
Elizabeth can also be found on Twitter as @LearnFreeLiz, regularly comments on our Facebook and YouTube pages, and also writes posts here from time to time.
In the coming weeks, look for more interviews with other members of the GCFLearnFree.org staff. I’m excited to introduce you to our creative and talented staff!