From Homelessness to Leader in Public Service

Maddison Bruer
“Power & Promise truly lives up to its name. It gives students the power to achieve their goals, and a promise that they’re believed in. That’s why I believe in it so much.”

Maddison Bruer

Elliott School '15

As a teenager, Maddison Bruer found herself living on the streets after her mother got in trouble with the law. She discovered a youth shelter called Bridges of Norman in her hometown of Norman, Oklahoma and lived there for three years.

She was able to come to GW with the support of the Power & Promise initiative, which aims to provide all qualified students with the means to attend the university, regardless of their financial resources.

Bruer is a student in the Elliott School of International Affairs with a concentration in global public health and envisions a career at the World Health Organization or United Nations. She participates in the Women’s Leadership Program and is a Colonial ambassador, a liaison between the Office of Alumni Relations and the student body. She served as a cabinet member for Colonial Inauguration in 2013 and works passionately to raise funds for Power & Promise.

Bruer hasn’t forgotten about her past. She was awarded the J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Public Service Award for undertaking voluntary public service and took advantage of the opportunity to spend a summer in Oklahoma. She developed programs at Bridges of Norman to help students thrive on their own after high school graduation. 

“I’m not afraid to share my story. I think that it empowers me because it reminds me of who I am and where I come from,” she said.