A Word About Our CECP Diversity Scholarship

By Matthew Hennessey

My name is Matthew Hennessey, and I am the 2020 recipient of the Diversity Scholarship from the Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology (CECP) Graduate Student Organization (GSO).

The Diversity Scholarship is intended to reflect and support the value of racial and ethnic diversity in the CECP department. I was initially hesitant to apply for the scholarship. Although I support any effort to promote racial/ethnic diversity, I did not feel qualified to apply. I am biracial (half Indian/half Irish), and I did not feel racially or ethnically “diverse enough” to deserve the scholarship. As I reflected further on this feeling of not being enough, it occurred to me that I had found a reason to apply. As a biracial individual, I had never felt fully part of either of my familial cultures. I had encountered and experienced multiple moments of adversity connected to my racial/ethnic and intersecting identities.

My story was valuable, and it made me a qualified and worthy candidate for the Diversity Scholarship. In my application, I shared this story, and I was fortunate to be awarded the scholarship.

Upon receiving the Diversity Scholarship, I felt a responsibility to represent and promote diversity in the CECP department. A way in which I aimed to fulfill this responsibility was through my position as President of the CECP GSO. One of my motivations to run for President was the opportunity to showcase excellence in leadership as a person of my particular background. When I was growing up, I rarely saw biracial, brown, and/or gay leaders in media and real life. As such, I never dared to aspire for leadership, myself. It would have been so meaningful to see myself represented in leadership in some capacity.

Once I took ownership of my story and recognized my capability to lead, I did so. I became the model of what I had yearned for when I was younger. I hope that in some way, my position as President of the CECP GSO might inspire other student(s) who have felt under- or unrepresented in the world. I hope that my output as President has been excellent, and that I have not only been a leader, but a good leader and model. Beyond representation, I have sought to use my position to promote social justice. Last summer, in light of the instances of racial injustice occurring in the country, I coordinated a corresponding response and effort on behalf of the CECP GSO. I released a statement and resource list via our Instagram, and I facilitated a fundraiser via cohort Facebook pages for Alma Center, a Milwaukee-based clinic that offers trauma-informed services to [primarily BIPOC] men who are considered at risk or involved in the criminal justice system.

Through the Annual Diversity Gala fundraiser and other events throughout the year, I have been able to channel my leadership into social justice and advocacy. My position and output as CECP GSO President have been due, in part, to the Diversity Scholarship. The scholarship eased my financial burden, thereby allowing me to fully devote myself to the CECP GSO rather than a job. I am so grateful for the Diversity Scholarship and for what it has allowed me to accomplish during my time at Marquette University. I will carry the responsibility of the scholarship – to reflect and support the value of racial and ethnic diversity – forward always, but especially into my future profession as a counselor.

The 20th Annual CECP Diversity Gala will be held virtually on Saturday, May 1, 2021, beginning at 7:00pm. Register online by Thursday, April 29th. Virtual Zoom details will be included with your registration confirmation email.

Research Spotlight: Dr. Gabriel Velez

Adolescent Experiences of COVID-19 

March 2021 marked the one year anniversary of pandemic that has changed the way many of us work, teach, and play. Last year, Dr. Gabriel Velez began research seeking to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic was affecting young people by asking them about emotions, experiences and schooling. 

As part of the study, Adolescent Meaning Making: Processing What COVID-19 Means for Sense of Self, Place in Society, and Future Trajectory, Dr. Velez conducted two rounds of surveys with middle and high school students in the spring and fall of 2020. A small sample participated in both rounds of surveys and will be interviewed this winter/spring 2021.  

As you might expect, the surveys demonstrated a wide diversity of experience as young people’s lives have been disrupted in varied ways. Key themes from the first round include that 1) not all are impacted, and some have opportunities for growth, 2) school changes matter, but for a host of reasons, 3) online communication is not sufficient for social needs, 4) many are experiencing a sense of missing out, and 4) impacts on daily routines, social life, and mental health are interconnected. 

Here are just two examples of how students have experienced virtual learning:

“It is very draining and repetitive. It’s still weird to me to be doing school at home. I often lack motivation to just get up in the morning, and when I am in school everyone just feels like strangers.” 

“It hasn’t been terrible. The teachers are doing their best with online school and I’m grateful to still be learning new things and having some opportunities to connect with people. However, I am tired of being at home on screens all day and not being able to see my teachers, friends, and classmates. Having to constantly schedule time to talk to people is frustrating because I can’t just say hi to them in the hallways or between classes.” 

More information and the survey reports are available on the study website

Teaching and Learning Virtually

Holly Hinton, Ed. ’22 and her mother, LouAnn Hinton.

Holly Hinton, Class of 2022, in the College of Education, is majoring in Secondary Education and Biology. This year, Holly has had the unique opportunity to observe a veteran science teacher, her mother, LouAnn, as she taught 7th and 8th grade science and religion to her students virtually at St. John of the Cross Parish School in Western Springs, IL.


We wanted to learn a little more about the experience that Holly had this year as she was virtually learning to teach while her mother was virtually teaching in the room next door. Here is what Holly had to say:

What was it like initially to find yourself at home with your mom teaching in the next room?

Having both of us home was definitely a big adjustment, but it was also a really unique experience to be home together while we were doing our work. We got to hang out during our breaks, so I got to see her a lot more. I was able to see how she interacts with and guides her class through discussions and learning, which was a great learning experience for me as a future teacher. I also got to help her create lab demonstration videos!


What did you learn from your mom about teaching?

One thing I learned was that teachers work SO hard for their students. My mom works late into the night grading papers, planning lessons, and going the extra mile to make sure her students have a great experience in her class. Watching how much she cares and puts into her teaching makes me appreciate my own teachers so much more.

How did you help one another with your teaching and learning?

It was fun to be home with my mom this semester because I got to share a lot about what I was learning in my education classes and she could explain how what I was learning related to her real-life experiences in her classroom. It was cool to hear some insight from someone who had been through it herself. I was able to help her, too! Going completely online meant that my mom had to use a lot of new technology she had never used before. I was able to guide her through that as well as help her create videos of labs for the class to view from home. 

Any specific good stories come to mind?

Not necessarily a “good” story, but we both ended up getting COVID-19 together during all of this! We were able to comfort and console each other through it, and quarantine together away from the rest of the family so it wasn’t so lonely. And, since we are both science teachers, we were interested in learning as much as we could about viruses, how our immune systems work, and how diseases like COVID-19 spread.

What’s one blessing you found in being at home teaching with your mom in the next room?

It allowed us to get closer, enjoy our new puppies together, and learn from each other!

Ms. Haugen’s 1st Period Class

Lily Haugen, Class of 2023, is majoring in Secondary Education and English, with a minor in Theater Arts. During the fall 2020 semester, Lily, was enrolled in EDUC 2001: Teaching Practice 1: Instructional Design and Teaching Models with Dr. Terry Burant. This class is one of the newly launched redesigned courses in Marquette’s recently redesigned teacher education program. As the name of the course implies, students practiced designing and teaching lessons using the various teaching models they learned in class.

Lily quickly realized that it helped her to have actual “students” to teach in these practice sessions and she reached out to her friend bubble, the people she spent time with during fall semester. She asked if they were free on a Sunday evening and would they be willing to be her students in a 20-minute lesson about how to annotate a novel. They agreed!

Ms. Haugen with “students” from her 1st Period Class

Lily shared that after filming the lesson, “they told me that they had so much fun participating and playing along” and they even admitted to having learned something from the lesson and would be using some annotation tips the next time they had a reading for class.

Lily relied on the same group of friends when she used the “tea party method” to introduce characters from a novel to students. During filming, her friends got into and stayed in character, referring to Lily as “Ms. Haugen” and they eventually changed their group chat to “Ms. Haugen’s 1st Period,” a name they still use to describe their group.

Dr. Burant asked Lily to reflect on what she learned from teaching her peers and friends instead of teaching in a field placement. Lily explained:

As a freshman, my first field placement, was in a kindergarten classroom. Even though I was only there once a week, I developed a strong bond with the students. In a similar way, even though I was teaching my friends who were pretending to be my students, I felt us grow closer and strengthen our bond through teaching.

The thing that stuck with me the most was how all my friends got to see me doing what I am passionate about. They saw how important teaching is to me and I could feel their respect and admiration for me and the work I was doing. My friends come from a variety of academic backgrounds with our common thread being theatre, so it was really satisfying to let them into the world of teaching and show them what I do. Now not only do they now understand how important teaching is to me, but they also care more about teaching and see how useful it is in any field. We had a tight knit bond that only got stronger after doing these lessons.”

Here are few things that Ms. Haugen’s “students” had to say about the experience:

“Being a different kind of teacher, I learned how to adapt to different situations being thrown at you. I also learned the importance of listening and cooperation from both parties. It is a very important skill I believe to be able to talk AND listen. Students can be pretty smart” -Will

“I learned the importance of adaptability while teaching” -Giorgia

I learned what a simile was” -Will

“I learned all the different styles teaching can take form in, and every activity was unique and still reinforced concepts that I learned previously (even if I did forget about them) in a new way to keep our group engaged.”- Sam

I learned how teachers find fun ways to educate but still keep their students engaged” -Piper

Since I am going into speech pathology, I definitely appreciated the different skills you used to keep us engaged and how you modeled what you wanted us to be doing. I will carry that into my own work!” –Giorgia

An Ash Wednesday Reflection

A teacher’s thoughts about Ash Wednesday mass: It just might be my favorite mass of the year…

By: Dr. Terry Burant


February of 2020 had been a rough and painful month for our Marquette and Milwaukee communities. 

We just laid to rest Dr. Joe Daniels, a beloved professor and recently appointed Dean of the College of Business Administration. Then, on Ash Wednesday afternoon, a shooter opened fired at Miller Molson Coors brewery killing 5 people before ending his life. 

On a personal note, earlier that Ash Wednesday evening, I attended a visitation for a friend’s father before returning to my office to finish preparations to fly the next day to our annual teacher education conference. As it got closer to 9:00 PM, the start time for the last option for Ash Wednesday mass at Gesu, I was mostly looking forward to rushing home to pack before my early morning flight. But no, I walked to mass instead, seeking some peace and comfort for myself and for our tired, broken world.

What is it about Ash Wednesday mass, especially when I attend with students, that means so much to me? I have been teaching in and out of Catholic schools for almost 30 years now and my memories of Ash Wednesday mass remain vivid as ever. 

At St. Catherine’s Indian School in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a boarding school for American Indian students where I taught science, English, and foods classes, I remember how the theology teacher, Sister Marguerite, invited several students to read reflections on the gospel at Ash Wednesday mass. Listening to the heartfelt words of one of my 6thperiod students, a bit of a jokester, always ready with a pun in our biology class, helped me see him, and myself, in a new light. Weren’t we, after all, a lot alike? Looking for approval sometimes in not the most appropriate ways, in the middle of a class for him, or in a faculty meeting for me? 

At another Catholic high school where I was a science teacher, I was humbled to be one of the faculty members asked to place ashes on foreheads. It is hard not to feel compassion, vulnerability, and common humanity with your students when you are gently touching their foreheads, asking them to “turn away from sin and believe in the Gospel.” I wasn’t just telling them to do this; I was reminding myself, over and over again. 

At Marquette University, there is nothing quite like being in Gesu when the church is full of students worshipping together. In one of my first years here, a student invited me to attend Ash Wednesday mass with him. I’ve never forgotten how that simple invitation made me feel: like I belonged, like I was just one more of the faithful, yet imperfect humans here at Marquette, doing my best, making mistakes, and atoning as part of this solemnly beautiful and collective experience. 

At last year’s Ash Wednesday mass, when I arrived at the door of Gesu with a heart full of sorrow, feeling the fragility and unpredictability of life all around me, honestly, all I was thinking about was the utilitarian potential of the service to comfort me and to protect me from harm in my upcoming travels. I entered the foyer a little selfish, I’m afraid, thinking about all I had left to do before getting on a plane in the morning, and praying for an efficient, fast-moving mass! 

Within minutes, two of my students from the previous semester sat next to me and we chatted briefly about our Spring Break plans. As we waited for mass to begin, more and more students I knew walked in, smiled, and gently waved in my direction. I saw Jesuits, other faculty, and members of our community arriving and exchanging hushed, warm greetings on a cold, dark night. In receiving ashes on my forehead, and in hearing the familiar reminder that I am “dust, and to dust I will return,” my heart shifted from my concerns of the day. By the time I walked down the steps to jump on a bus to head home, I was just me, one member of our community, ready to atone, to make the most of whatever time I had left on earth, and to believe in the promise of the resurrection. 

Ash Wednesday, for me, as a person and as a teacher, is all about the collective experience. It reminds me that I am not special. I will be dust someday. But, conversely, it also reminds me just how special I am to be a member of the Marquette community and to receive the grace of Lent and of the resurrection.  Ash Wednesday mass sets me up for a Lenten season where I will focus less on what I’m giving up and more on what I have to give to others, to lessen their burdens as they too are on their journeys towards the “dust to which they will return.”  This is not a grim reminder; instead, it is an invitation to be here now, to give, to love, and to notice the face of God in others, especially in those I have the honor to teach. 

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.


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