Riley is a power connector. Her ability to recognize the talents of others and bring people together is evident in her journey of becoming a teacher. At UM-Dearborn, Brown wasted no time exposing herself to new opportunities. It’s through those experiences, she says, that equipped her with the tools necessary to help educate her sixth-grade students. For Riley though, education is more than teaching arithmetic and English — it’s about inspiring students to practice empathy and to be the best versions of themselves. Brown is committed to leading from the heart and is excited to do more wherever her path leads. After all, she’s working in her dream career.
Riley, in her own words
On her experience at UM-Dearborn. “Aside from my classes, it was the experiences I had through being involved on campus — being an orientation leader, being in different student orgs and just working with others has helped me so much in working with my students and building a community in my classroom. I learned those things on campus and can now apply them in my work.”
On her defining moment. “Toward the end of my student teaching, I realized that I had picked the right path. I had a wonderful mentor who was really helpful along the way. Teaching has so many layers and sometimes you can really get down on yourself. But I had a mentor to pick me right back up. We also had student-teacher conferences. When I was talking with the students I became super emotional just talking about their growth and the experiences I got to have with them. In that moment, I realized that [teaching] was definitely what I wanted to do. They placed me at a perfect-match school. I was sitting in conferences and I knew that this was great, that this is where I felt I should be.”
On why she was selected to be a Difference Maker. “I am a UM-Dearborn Difference Maker because in any opportunity I was given, I tried to form a community and form a bond by connecting other people. I think that's the basis of being successful in college — it’s the bonds you make and the connections you’re able to make. That I was able to foster different communities through my involvement and bring together different people from all different walks of life and paths to become one big UM-Dearborn family really makes me [able to] make a difference. I think it's about the small differences that you make — whether holding the door for someone, or helping someone find the info desk, those small differences add up to make a really big. [While] I didn’t create a new student org, I did reach out to others and was able to bring people together and encourage them to do and be more.”