Lisa McCroskey’s journey to her post with the ECDC African Community Center — a refugee resettlement organization in Denver, Co., was one constructed from many paths.
McCroskey grew up on a dairy farm near Marionville, Mo. After graduating from high school, she attended Missouri State University as a political science major, ROTC participant and student employee in the Government Documents department of the library. Inspired to study abroad during her sophomore year, McCroskey traveled to Tanzania for the summer to teach English at a primary school in a small village.
Shortly after returning from Tanzania, McCroskey’s fiance, Aaron, was severely injured while serving in Iraq. His treatment and lengthy rehabilitation was at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. McCroskey joined Aaron there, and they were soon married.
She completed her bachelor’s degree in political science at the University of Maryland, focusing on African Politics and Swahili. She went on to earn dual master’s degrees in social work and in international development/humanitarian assistance at the University of Denver.
Throughout her graduate studies, McCroskey worked in a Denver housing project neighborhood, teaching refugee and American youth, as well as with Ethiopia Reads, a non-profit that builds children’s libraries in Ethiopia. McCroskey traveled to Ethiopia to help set up a library, and back to Tanzania before starting her career with the ECDC African Community Center as the community works experience program coordinator. There, she helps refugees build job skills, learn about American workplace culture and start their new lives in the United States.