LGTBQ+ Inclusive Resources for Classroom and Curriculum

Written by: Chelsey Tennis (they/them/theirs)

Happy LGBTQ+ Pride month everyone! Each June, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) community remembers its history, celebrates its global family, and organizes for positive change. In the first quarter of 2021, the United States saw an unprecedented number of anti-LGBTQ+, especially anti-transgender, bills being proposed, a sign that the fight for LGBTQ+ equity and social justice is still far from over. These anti-LGBTQ+ bills and sentiments do not reflect Marquette University’s Catholic Jesuit values, especially our commitment to human dignity and diversity

Education is a crucial part of LGBTQ+ advocacy and social justice. Though most classrooms are empty during the month of June, that does not mean that teachers and professors cannot bring pride into the academic year. Students who learn in an inclusive classroom often relate to curriculum better, feel more confident in participating in class, and are more successful due to the teacher’s ability to connect and engage with them. 

Building an inclusive classroom or curriculum does not have to be a complete overhaul of one’s lesson plans; even including different family structures or pronouns in examples or word problems is a great start. There are many resources at Marquette to help educators at all levels and in all subjects build a more inclusive campus. Here are a few: 

  • The LGBTQ+ Resource Center (AMU 140) has a small lending library of LGBTQ+ literature, including an early education section filled with k-6 age-appropriate books that introduce gender expression, gender identity, pronoun usage, and inclusive family structures 
  • The Raynor Memorial Libraries has an online LGBTQ Resources search guide to support scholars researching LGBTQ+ topics, historical or contemporary 
  • Attend a Safer Spaces training offered by the LGBTQ+ Resource Center. Each session can be catered to its audience (whether you register with a group or as an individual) and aims to build a network of LGBTQ+ allies engaged in ongoing discussions of creating a more inclusive climate on campus 
  • See if one of the Interdisciplinary Gender and Sexualities Studies (INGS) classes fits into your Core Curriculum requirements. INGS classes promote a critical, feminist, intersectional and cultural understanding of gender, sexuality and power in a global context and across disciplinary boundaries 
  • Check out the inclusive teaching resources that the Center for Teaching and Learning has collected – these resources include course design, inclusive online classrooms, and seeking inclusion for not only LGBTQ+ identities, but creating inclusive classrooms for other marginalized identities and those with mental health concerns

Bridging Latinx Studies and Education: Dr. Julissa Ventura Teaching NEW Latinx Education Course this Fall!

Dr. Julissa Ventura

This fall, Dr. Julissa Ventura, is looking forward to teaching a newly designed course that will examine the Latinx student experience through an educational context. The course will engage Marquette undergraduate and graduate students in understanding the challenges that Latinx students face in schools as well as how Latinx communities have resisted and transformed inequitable educational policies and practices.  

This is a course that Dr. Ventura has been wanting to teach for a long time based on her research with Latinx communities. She has found that while there is a growing demographic of the Latinx population across the United States, K-12 schools and institutions of higher education are still not attending to the needs and desires of Latinx students. In this course, Marquette students will examine social, cultural, and political constructions of Latinx youth, families, and communities in educational discourse, research, and policy. According to Dr. Ventura, “We will explore the challenges that Latinx communities face due to the historical, social and political context that shapes educational policy and practice, we will also identify strategies, tools, and efforts Latinx communities have taken up in transforming our educational system.”  

Dr. Ventura’s research and courses like this are particularly important as Marquette University works to become a Hispanic Serving Institution.  For Latinx students on campus, the course will be a way to contextualize and build upon their own experiences. As a community of learners, all students in the course will have the opportunity to engage with a variety of topics such as historical and current school segregation, immigration and transnationalism, students’ linguistic and cultural practices and more.  

One of the aspects of the course that Dr. Ventura is most excited about is the community-based project where Marquette students will work with Latinx youth in Milwaukee. Students will connect with high schoolers about once a week, either in person or virtually, to engage in research and policy proposals in a school or community-based organization. It is important that in a course that engages with Latinx educational issues, our learning is not limited to the Marquette classroom, but also goes out into our vibrant Milwaukee Latinx community.  

Artist: Favianna Rodriguez

Dr. Ventura hopes this course will draw in Marquette students who are interested in ethnic studies, education, and social justice. It aligns with the curricular steps that Marquette is taking to provide a more equity-oriented and diverse curriculum. This course is also not just for education majors/minors but would also be a great fit for students in the Race, Ethnic and Indigenous Studies Program in the College of Arts and Sciences and all students who seek to learn more about Latinx communities and how to transform educational space for our Latinx students to thrive!  

EDUC 4600/5600 Latinx Education: Challenges and Possibilities will be offered on Mondays from 4:30 – 7:10 PM this fall semester and is open to undergraduate and graduate students. For more information on how to enroll in the course please contact Tina McNamara via email tina.mcnamara@marquette.edu or phone (414) 288-6981.

PTSD Awareness Month

Written by Dr. Karisse Callender

June is Post-traumatic Stress Awareness (PTSD) month and I want to raise some awareness about PTSD while also acknowledging and honoring the ongoing events around the pandemic, racism, discrimination, and injustice.

So, what is PTSD?

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that develops because of something terrifying, scary, life-threatening or dangerous. PTSD can also develop because of natural disasters, combat, accidents, sexual violence, torture, and domestic violence. It’s important to know that you can develop PTSD as a result of experiencing these events directly (personally experienced the event/situation) or by witnessing (it was done to someone else). PTSD can happen to anyone, at any time, in any place, and under various circumstances, however not everyone will meet criteria for PTSD. Some persons may have mild to moderate distress and others may have more severe and longer lasting symptoms. The way PTSD symptoms are expressed may vary across individuals. Trauma may also be passed down through generations (e.g., intergenerational trauma) and we cannot ignore the role of racism in the development of trauma symptoms (e.g., race related trauma).

Some signs and symptoms of PTSD may include:

  • Being scared or easily startled
  • Sleep difficulty (unable to sleep or reoccurring nightmares)
  • Flashbacks or bad memories of the event for an extended period
  • Not wanting to talk about the traumatic event or unable to remember important aspects of the event
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling detached, numb
  • Avoiding routine activities
  • Inability to experience happiness or loving feelings
  • Avoiding reminders of the event (e.g., places, people, conversations)

If you experience these signs/symptoms for more than 1 month, please consider talking to a licensed mental health provider to be appropriately assessed for a trauma related diagnosis. You can reach out to a licensed professional anytime you believe these signs/symptoms are disrupting your daily life, even before the 1-month timeframe. Some of these licensed providers include counselors, clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists, psychiatrists, and psychologists. Before you schedule an appointment, you have a right to ask the potential mental health provider about credentials and experience working with trauma survivors. Some individuals may also reach out to a leader or trusted person within their religious or spiritual community for additional support.

References & Resources:

NIMH, Mayo Clinic, US Dept. of Veterans Affairs, NAMI, American Psychiatric Association, World Health Organization, American Counseling Association, International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, National Center for Trauma-Informed Care, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)

***This information does not replace professional mental health services and is not a diagnostic tool. This information is provided for educational purposes only. If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, please reach out to your local health care providers or call 911

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.

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