Advocating for School Counselors

This past fall, students enrolled in Noreen Siddiqui’s EDUC 4000 course were asked to take on a semester-long research project exploring a topic related to education and then performing an act of advocacy to inform others. Student projects could range from letters to websites to PSA to podcasts, such as Roy Bowler’s focusing on school counseling.

My name is Roy Bowler. I am a senior from New York City, majoring in secondary education and journalism.

This was an assignment that we completed throughout the course of the semester. I saw that we had to advocate for something in American education. I knew about a lot of the some of the issues in American education including those of inequality, but I wanted to do something that I had not heard about before. So, I did some research and saw that there was a huge lack and need for school counselors. The ratio recommended by America School Counselor Association of 250 students to 1 counselor was not even close to being met in most of America’s schools. Even schools that I had attended did not meet the ratio, and these were all great schools. It was also an issue I had never even heard about, so I thought it would be a great topic to explore. 

Throughout the semester we compiled research and data. I really liked how we did the project step by step. It forced you not to procrastinate, and you received feedback after each step that you could apply to the final submission. As we came to the final step of the project, I saw that we had to take all the individual steps and compile the information into a project where we actually advocated for our issue of choice. Being a journalism major as well, and having taken a podcasting class, I figured a great way to advocate would be to make a podcast. I reached out to some people and received tremendous help from Dr. Karisse Callender, who organized my interviews with Dr. Alexandra Kriofske Mainella and grad students Max Moderski and Kennidy Summers. They did a great job explaining the issues to me from an actual counselor’s point of view. I also felt it would be best to let them advocate. They did a great job on that, too. 

My favorite part was definitely interviewing. It helped that the subjects were so knowledgeable and passionate about the need for more school counselors. I appreciated their insight and their ability to advocate. The most difficult part was probably putting the podcast together and deciding what fit where. I had to cut some stuff because if I did not the podcast would have been too long. Though, the fact that we completed steps of this project throughout the course of the semester alleviated a lot of the stress that would come with a huge project like this. 

I really enjoyed having such a practical assignment. While we did the normal class stuff, like readings and discussions, we also did our own research throughout the semester and became experts on a topic that we can help advocate for during our times as educators. I appreciated the freedom that we were given by being able to pick any topic we’d like and advocate for it in any way we’d like. I know some of my classmates created social media pages and websites where they advocated for issues like the need for culturally and linguistically diverse advocates in special education and the decreasing the number of standardized tests students are required to take. 

I think as a teacher, I will try to advocate for more school counselors. It really made me interested in the profession. As I progress my own education, I may even try to take some counseling courses. If I am placed in a school that has a shortage of school counselors, I could try to take on the role with my students as best as I can. 

Advocating for More Inclusive School Environments

This past fall, students enrolled in Noreen Siddiqui’s EDUC 4000 course were asked to take on a semester-long research project exploring a topic related to education and then performing an act of advocacy to inform others. Student projects could range from letters to websites to PSA to podcasts. Maya Kolatorowicz, Class of 2022, shares some insight into her project and what it meant to her.

I am Maya Kolatorowicz, and I am a junior studying Elementary / Middle Education and Spanish.  I will graduate in the Spring of 2022. I am from Westchester, Illinois.

When I initially read the assignment description, I became excited! I knew that having an advocacy project as an assignment could be an opportunity to work toward real change in today’s educational environment. I contemplated what I wanted to advocate for quite a bit. I reflected back on my experiences in grade school and high school, and I began to ask “what injustices were right in my face the whole time?” 

This brought me to my realization that throughout my years in Catholic schools, I always noticed (but too often brushed aside) that my friends within the LGTBQ+ community had to cover up their true identity. This always pained me, but I remained quiet at the time. This past semester, I realized I did not want to remain quiet anymore. I knew it was time to advocate for the students who identify as a part of the LGBTQ+ community and attend Catholic schools. More specifically, I wanted to work toward not changes to Catholic doctrine but toward increased outward inclusivity of students who identify as LGBTQ+ in the Catholic schooling environment. Students who identify as LGBTQ+ deserve just as much inclusion, respect and feelings of not only acceptance but welcome as all other students. Period. 

My favorite part of completing this project was talking to peers – including two students in Marquette’s College of Education (Natalie Gryniewicz and Kathryn Rochford) – a former theology teacher (Ms. Kara McBride) from Trinity High School in River Forest, Illinois, and Anna who identifies as a queer woman. Anna’s story shed light on the damage that remaining silent can do when it comes to fighting for justice issues that affect the LGBTQ+ community. Hearing from Gryniewicz, Rochford and McBride gave me hope that today’s teachers and those of the future in Catholic schools are going to be increasingly outwardly inclusive of all identities – especially LGBTQ+ identities. I also enjoyed putting together my Instagram advocacy page “mrkadvocates” in order to spread the podcasts to a larger community made up of peers, family and friends. 

Perhaps the biggest challenge of the advocacy project was figuring out a way to convey my message to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and Archdiocese of Chicago. I never wanted to come off as “attacking” or “critical,” as I am a college-aged student who still has plenty to learn. Thankfully, I overcame this challenge in writing a letter to the superintendents of schools of both archdioceses – Dr. Kathleen Cepelka and Dr. Jim Rigg. My letters directed their attention to the podcasts and requested a conversation about how increased inclusivity has been and will continue to be brought about in Catholic schools. The podcasts were well-received, and I even engaged in further conversation via email with Superintendent Dr. Kathleen Cepelka of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee discussing inclusivity policies currently in place. 

I will take my interviewing skills into my teaching practice, and I hope to teach my students how to format and conduct a successful interview. I also hope to continue to use social media as a platform to convey my own ideas – specifically related to social justice issues impacting education. Given that we live in an age of social media, I believe that guiding my own students to use social media in a positive way to express themselves and convey their own ideas is of utmost importance, too.  

I will always be thankful to have had Professor Noreen Siddiqui as my professor for EDUC 4000! She was incredibly encouraging and helpful throughout the research and advocating process, and I would not have been able to have achieved successful community and administrative advocacy without her support.

Encouraging Advocacy in Pre-Service Teachers

This past fall, students enrolled in Noreen Siddiqui’s EDUC 4000 course were asked to take on a semester-long research project exploring a topic related to education and then performing an act of advocacy to inform others. Student projects could range from letters to websites to PSA to podcasts. We will be sharing two of their projects with you, podcasts by Roy Bowler and Maya Kolatorowicz. But first, we’d like to introduce you to their instructor who is also a student in the College of Education to hear a little more about the inspiration for this assignment.

My name is Noreen Siddiqui, and I am a doctoral candidate in the department of educational policy and leadership. My interests are in higher education and campus food insecurity. 

This was actually a project of Dr. Gibson’s which I adopted for the class EDUC 4000. The course focuses on advocacy in education, so we want students in the class to go beyond merely reading and writing about advocacy to engaging in the process of advocacy.

The goal was for students to choose a topic they were passionate about and find ways in which they could make an impact on an issue of social injustice. My hope is that students realized that engaging in advocacy is something that they can and should be doing.

These two projects were very impressive. Maya and Roy both chose topics that they care about and produced professional and well-informed podcasts. Quite a bit of thought and planning went into each podcast. Maya even wrote letters to the Chicago and Milwaukee archdioceses in addition to her podcast to engage instructional leadership on her topic of LGBTQ inclusion in Catholic schools. I’ve been impressed with Maya’s continued commitment to advocating for LGBTQ inclusion. 

Leading by Example – A True Embodiment of Being the Difference

By Kathryn Rochford

screenshot of MUBB’s tweet from Jan. 5, 2021. https://twitter.com/MarquetteMBB/status/1346631266851020800

Wednesday, January 6, 2021 is a day that will live in the history books. We as a country witnessed a ghastly display of chaos, a lack of proper leadership, and unnecessary use of violence to attempt to overturn a peaceful transfer of power from one president to the next. There was headline after headline discussing the events, and it seemed it was all any news source could talk about.

However, buried underneath the flood of articles written about events in Washington, D.C., there was one headline that caught my eye in a powerful way. It was a description of the Marquette men’s basketball team and their choice to wear Black Lives Matter shirts and black uniforms on the night of the 5th to stand in solidarity with Jacob Blake, the man shot in Kenosha last August. They wanted to stand against the announcement that the officer who shot Blake would face no charges regarding the shooting and to remind their fans that “…just because racial and social injustice hasn’t received as much attention recently, doesn’t mean the need to fight against it has gone away.”

In reading this article and in the tweet that the team put out, I had tears in my eyes. We as a university pride ourselves on advocating for social justice issues and for standing up for what is right. In a day where so much went wrong, I held so much immense respect for the team for leading the way and showcasing the very ideal of Marquette which is to “Be the Difference.” Where a lack of proper leadership was shown yesterday, I was able to reflect on how grateful I am that I attend a university that prides itself on instructing its students to care for others, to advocate for social justice issues, and more importantly to do what we can as individuals to “Be the Difference.”

Our basketball team took a stand Tuesday night and helped us to refocus on the need to educate and advocate for social justice issues. The past few months have taught us that there is always a need to improve and to do better for each person around us. In continuing our education, both formally and informally, I can only begin to imagine the positive impact that this generation of Marquette graduates will have on the world. Our Marquette education will provide us the strength to speak up when injustice is evident, to creatively find solutions to problems at hand, and most importantly to recognize the need to care for the whole person, using the Jesuit concept of cura personalis.

In times like this, I can still feel the power and solidarity I felt when I was in a packed Fiserv Forum cheering on our basketball team, all the while chanting with my classmates “We are Marquette.” I am proud to be a Marquette student, and I can’t wait for us all to be together again in that arena, cheering on a team who was ready to show the world an example of true leadership and advocacy. We are stronger together, and most importantly, we are Marquette.

Research In Action: Meet Julia Pawlowski

Dr. Leeza Ong, assistant professor in the Counselor Education Counseling Psychology department, has two projects which provide opportunities for students to be involved in the research project. We would like to introduce you to Dr. Ong and her students in a multi-part series exploring their work.

My name is Julia Pawlowski, and I am a first-year graduate student in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program. I am originally from Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and I attended Marquette for my undergraduate degree. I am a research assistant on the project The Effect of Mindful Prayers on First-Generation Immigrant/Refugee Women’s Wellness: A Qualitative Study. In five years, I see myself completing a Ph.D. Program in counseling psychology. 

My research interests are in multicultural psychology and psychopathology. Specifically, they include the role of acculturation in reinforcing or buffering the impact of stigma, factors that worsen the psychological consequences of microaggressions on mental health among minority groups, and the impact of cultural beliefs/attitudes on identity formation. 

As the child of two immigrants, I grew up in an immigrant/ refugee community that survived by helping one another. Being bicultural has made me aware of cultural sensitivity from a young age, as navigating between my two cultures often left me conflicted. My personal upbringing and acquired psychological knowledge are the reasons I pursued a degree in clinical mental health counseling. I am passionate about helping this population and making a difference in individuals’ lives. I wanted to work with Dr. Ong because of her work regarding immigrant and refugee psychological well-being. 

For more information on our rehabilitation specialization within the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, check out our College of Education 2020 Magazine.

Research In Action: Meet Kathryn Nadkarni

Dr. Leeza Ong, assistant professor in the Counselor Education Counseling Psychology department, has two projects which provide opportunities for students to be involved in the research project. We would like to introduce you to Dr. Ong and her students in a multi-part series exploring their work.

My name is Kathryn Nadkarni. I am a second-year master’s student in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. I grew up in La Grange Park, IL, and completed my undergrad at Miami University of Ohio (class of 2019). Frankly, I was never particularly interested in doing research after college. I felt that I had “paid my dues” by my two years of research assistantship at Miami, and being that I was not particularly inspired by the path of pursuing a PhD, I felt no need to pursue research at Marquette. That is, until I met Dr. Ong.

Dr. Ong is a selfless, committed individual whose genuine excitement about bridging the gap between practice and research is infectious. She was my professor for my practicum course last year, and I was mesmerized by the way she spoke of her research projects and interests. Later in the spring, she offered an opportunity to lead an art therapy activity with a group of adults with sickle-cell disease, and I jumped at the prospect. Her upbeat attitude, indisputable expertise and hardworking spirit are just some of the reasons that I was intrigued months later by the opportunity to work as her research assistant. There would be no better way to supplement my last year at Marquette than to work with Dr. Ong on a project. We, the research assistants, meet with Dr. Ong weekly to discuss the project and assign tasks to keep it moving. I appreciate that unlike in my undergrad research experience, Dr. Ong truly values our opinions and insights and adopts a hands-on approach. Not only are we utilized as assistants, we are considered integral to her work.

Though this may be my last research experience, and it will end in May when I graduate, I am so grateful for the opportunity to enrich my mind under Dr. Ong’s wing. I hope to work in mental health counseling for the foreseeable future, but I will certainly cherish the lessons I am learning through this research experience. Dr. Ong has truly given me a new perspective on what it means to be investigative and curious, and how to use research in real-time to inform and optimize the way that we practice. 

For more information on our rehabilitation specialization within the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, check out our College of Education 2020 Magazine.

Your Invitation to Explore Peru this Summer

The “wall of shame” seen from La Inmaculada’s campus. (On the left side of the photo)

Gabriel Velez, Ph.D.

Dear College of Education students:

First, congratulations on getting through a difficult fall.  This is certainly a challenging time, and without knowing your individual situations, I just want to recognize that this year has been hard.

Second, I am excited to let you all know that pending progress on vaccines and combatting COVID-19, we will be holding a new and improved Education in the Americas as a summer study abroad program in 2021. I have some specifics below, and the website for Education in the Americas is up and accepting applications. Please note that the deadline to apply is March 1, 2021.

If you have any questions or follow up, please don’t hesitate to reach out.  And please spread the word to any other students you know who might be interested!

Have a wonderful, healthy, and restful holiday season!

Financial Details
The program fee will be $2,300, though if we have more than 7 students, then this will drop to $2,100.  Please note that this is in addition to tuition of $4,500 ($750/credit) and health insurance of $43, which will all be billed to each participant’s Checkmarq account.  Please see the program budget or budget section of the online application page for other estimated out of pocket expenses such as international airfare, individual meals and passport fees.

Itinerary Summary

 May 21st to 30th in Lima: stay with host families

Activities

  • School visit: La Inmaculada, Fe y Alegria -Jesuit 
  • Social Program Visits: MLK Sociodeportivo, Encuentros, SEA, Pebal 
  • Language workshops and guest lectures at UARM 

May 30th to June 13th in Cusco

Activities

  • School visit: Fe y Alegria -Jesuit 
  • Social Programs Visits: Wayra Community Center & Ludoteca, Cuyuni Sustainable House 
  • Cultural activities: Sacred Valley tour, Cusco Tour, San Pedro Market 

June 13th: return to US

 Course Summary

 EDUC 4951 (6 credits) | Education in the Americas: Equity, Justice, & Social Context

  • Equivalent to EDUC 4540 (3cr) & 4000 (3cr)

Course Overview:

What is a just education? What is a high-quality education? What is equity in education? In this course, we will draw on field experiences and multi-disciplinary lenses in order to explore fundamental questions about what constitutes a high quality, equitable, and just education. The course will combine educational field studies in diverse contexts within Peru and traditional seminar meetings in order to link theory, research, and practice. Students will be encouraged to work comparatively between the contexts they are encountering in Peru and the contexts they may know intimately in the US. Students will articulate their own emerging philosophies of education, and they will comparatively analyze an educational issue facing Peru and the US. Prior to departure, students will interact with a set of readings/media intended to share perspectives about the Peruvian context and write an executive summary based on these texts and through the lens of their future professional identity. While in Peru, students will maintain a blog that they will use for public reflection in response to course sessions, field experiences, readings, and instructor-provided prompts. Your final project will consider the course’s framing questions and attempt to answer them drawing on your own research, experience, and reflection.

Application Details

As a reminder, students will have multiple application requirements to complete as a part of the application process. One of these is payment of a $500 deposit. This must be paid to MU Central via check or cash – there is not an online option for payment. This $500 payment will go toward the total program fee due for the program.  Students will also need to write a short motivation essay and request that an MU faculty member complete an online recommendation form.

Interested in hearing more from students and their experiences in past years? Make sure to check out student blogs on Marquette Meets Peru!

Research In Action: Meet Leah Witthuhn

Dr. Leeza Ong, assistant professor in the Counselor Education Counseling Psychology department, has two projects which provide opportunities for students to be involved in the research project. We would like to introduce you to Dr. Ong and her students in a multi-part series exploring their work.

My name is Leah Witthuhn, and I am a first-year student in the general track for Clinical Mental Health Counseling. I am originally from Appleton, WI and am living in Waukesha. I attended Carroll University for my undergraduate degree. I am working as a research assistant for Dr. Ong. We are currently recruiting participants for our study and are beginning to start collecting data in the form of focus groups. We plan to assist with analyzing the data and writing the manuscript once the project is finished.

My personal research interests focus on sexual trauma and rape myths. In my undergraduate career, I did multiple studies on victim perception and hope to continue researching the effects rape myths have on survivors, as well as how different survivor characteristics (such as sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity, etc.) have on resilience and perception of the assault. In addition, my current research with Dr. Ong has me interested in what factors contribute to well-being in other cultures. 

I have always been interested in helping others, and when I found psychology in undergrad I thought counseling was the best way to do that. After working in residence life for most of my undergraduate career, I found a particular connection to helping survivors of trauma. Once I had an idea of a good career path, I knew I needed to continue on and get a degree that would make me effective in helping others. I am working with Dr. Ong because I enjoy research and think it gives counselors more tools to improve. I am also currently considering applying to doctoral programs, in which this experience will help me prepare for that step.

In five years I can see myself down one of two paths. One would be finishing up a doctoral program and preparing for my career. The second would be working either in a residential trauma unit or the trauma floor at a hospital. My primary interest is working with survivors of sexual assault, and I hope that is what I will end up doing.

For more information on our rehabilitation specialization within the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, check out our College of Education 2020 Magazine.

Research In Action: Meet Ashley Jansen

Dr. Leeza Ong, assistant professor in the Counselor Education Counseling Psychology department, has two projects which provide opportunities for students to be involved in the research project. We would like to introduce you to Dr. Ong and her students in a multi-part series exploring their work.

My name is Ashley Jansen, and I am a second year graduate student. I did my undergraduate work at Adams State University. My role in Dr. Ong’s research study is to be a resource for athletes who could use counseling, or just someone to talk to and listen to.  

My research interests include Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy and trauma, perceptions of cross country and track athletes training at high altitude/racing at sea-level, and athletes training at sea-level/racing at high altitude. Sports Psychology inspired me to pursue my degree.

I wish to become a Mental Health Performance Consultant, in private practice, working as a mental health performance consultant with athletes one on one or with teams. I would love to positively impact the lives of as many athletes as I can and to inspire them to become the best versions of themselves, on and off the field. I want to break the stigma that is associated with sports psychology and to continue to make it more mainstream.

For more information on our rehabilitation specialization within the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, check out our College of Education 2020 Magazine.

Pandemic Teaching Week 14 & 15: That’s a Wrap

By Jody Jessup-Anger, Ph.D.

I am starting to see how education can serve as a beacon. Class is a point of connection, it’s a space in which students can look outside themselves and their circumstances.

As classes end and the paper avalanche commences, I have been reflecting on what I learned throughout the semester of pandemic teaching. (I have also been cleaning out a filing cabinet and catching up on writing projects…both tasks that take on a renewed sense of urgency when there are papers to grade.)

Perhaps the biggest lesson is one that I learn repeatedly: time is finite, and sometimes managing energy is as important as managing time. With Eric and I juggling hybrid homeschooling in addition to working full-time, I often find myself working alongside a singing nine-year-old who sometimes struggles to stay on task. Clearly that work environment is not conducive to deep thinking or writing. Instead of fighting through the noise, I often opt to spend my ‘kid helper’ time slogging through administrivia, answering email and kicking small tasks forward. I save my writing projects, editing, class planning, and more thinking-oriented activities for times when I am not also the primary parent. I have begun using early mornings each weekend as quiet project time to take the pressure off the week.

Although we never quite reached a perfect balance this semester, I got better at constantly adapting my work environment as the semester went on. As a bonus, thanks to the 4th grade curriculum, I also learned a lot about igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rock formation, and know more about the mineral mica than I ever thought I would.

The second lesson I learned was about teaching. I was out of my element as a teacher this semester. My teaching style is, at its core, relational. I like to engage with students, like them to engage with each other, and prefer discussion over lecture because it helps me see and hear students’ thinking and meaning making about concepts and content. Prior to this semester, I never used PowerPoint slides in my classes because I found them too rigid and transactional. This semester, because students attended class in-person and online, slides became a visual tool to guide the delivery of content and discussion in lieu of the board. Using them week after week, I came to appreciate the structure they necessitated – I could ensure that the anchors that ensure coherence were part of every session by putting them on a slide and building questions around them. I was well prepared for every session because I had built a PowerPoint structure. After pandemic teaching is over, I will likely keep some elements of PowerPoint in my courses. Its inflexibility is annoying but also ensures structure that is so helpful in learning.

The final, and most important lesson this semester is how to hold grace with accountability. The semester required a lot of flexibility. Students all have different stressors as they deal with the press of the pandemic. Some are living in tight quarters with undergraduate students, while others are struggling because they are fully virtual and feel isolated. Some are juggling parenting responsibilities with school and work, while others don’t know what to do with all the time they suddenly have. Some are feeling the weight of years of struggle for racial justice, while others are just becoming aware of its pervasiveness. There were times that I wanted to let students off the hook – it all seemed like too much. But I didn’t. I still insisted they do the readings, engage in class, write the papers. Accommodations were made when necessary; deadlines were flexed. But I insisted they get smarter and they Do.The.Work.

And now, as the semester closes, I am getting some notes. Notes that I have never gotten before. Notes of thanks. Notes indicating my class was the highlight of the week (can you imagine?!). I am starting to see how education can serve as a beacon. Class is a point of connection, it’s a space in which students can look outside themselves and their circumstances. It’s three hours where they can set aside their day and engage in the life of the mind. In its imperfect and messy form, class helped some students see, and aim for, more. The accountability helped with that aim. The grace did too.

Thanks for all your comments, encouragement, and connection as I shared these reflections. These were my beacon of hope.

Dr. Jessup-Anger is an Associate Professor and the Coordinator of the Student Affairs in Higher Education program in the College of Education.


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