Student Spotlight: Bre Legan

photo credit: Bre Legan

Howdy! My name is Bre Legan, and I am a multimedia artist, writer, and dreamer. I hold a Summa Cum Laude Bachelor of Art Degree in graphic design, photography, & writing with a Leadership Certificate from Drury University in Springfield, Mo., a Photography Certificate from Santa Reparata International School of Art in Florence, Italy, and a Grantwriting Certificate from Seattle Central College in Seattle, Wash. I am currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Communication at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis.

I was born and raised in a rural farming community of 700 in Missouri and can trace my farming lineage to the same town for seven generations. I’ve had the privilege of living and working abroad in Dharamsala, India and Florence and Rome, Italy, working in development and communications for small organizations and conducting research on the refugee crisis and international politics. Domestically, in Seattle, Wash. I was doing marketing, communications, and development for an education access nonprofit called Alexander Hamilton Scholars before moving to Milwaukee for graduate school!

The intersections of communication, art, and social justice deeply interest me because everything is connected — we cannot (and should not) conduct our work with an isolated or singularly focused mindset. To be an effective communicator means considering who will be impacted by the communication and actively working to mitigate harm.

I was interested in Marquette because of the Trinity Fellowship — a 21-month work-study program where I am able to pursue a Master’s degree of my choosing (communication) while also taking courses around social and economic justice and supplemental professional development and leadership opportunities. I was interested in studying communication while working with a local nonprofit during my Master’s program, and am able to take the theoretical knowledge I’m learning in my courses and apply it directly to my placement at the Urban Ecology Center, where I am doing grant writing and development work.

I’m excited to explore my professional interests at Marquette through taking on a Research Assistantship with Dr. Louise Cainkar and Dr. Sumana Chattopadhyay, where we are exploring women-centered refugee resettlement. Because it is important to me that I try to understand and integrate myself into the wider Milwaukee committee, I was able to lead a Milwaukee Roots Dialogue course last year where I co-taught a course for undergraduate and some MU faculty and staff. Each week, we explored Milwaukee’s untold history of racism, redlining, and struggles around housing and equity. This course gave me an opportunity to ground myself in the Milwaukee community.

I am an avid artist, writer, and community organizer! I run a freelance design and illustration business, sell illustrations on Etsy, and do popup typewriter poetry events whenever I can. I was awarded the inaugural Milwaukee Emerging Poet Fellowship through Woodland Pattern Book Center for the 2022–23 year, where I have the privilege of creating and facilitating a community-based poetry and art project. I also am a member of Midcoast Collective, a grassroots, multimedia, anti-capitalist artist collective. I have learned and grown alongside beautiful and dedicated artists in the community, refined my art practice, and became a better organizer for social change. We host benefit concerts to highlight local musicians and raise funds for local organizations, organize community events, and collaborate with other grassroots organizations to facilitate rallies and marches.