Getting to Know Courtney McNeal

McNeal_CourtneyThe College of Education is excited to continue allowing students to better know its faculty and staff. Mrs. Courtney McNeal is the Program Coordinator for the Hartman Literacy and Learning Center. Read on to learn more about Courtney!


Tell us about yourself!

I live in Kenosha, Wisconsin and work in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I am married to a high-school history teacher who also coaches cross country and track (all in Zion, IL). We have a lovely little house and the BEST cat you could ever ask for. His name is Sputnik, or Spud. Follow him on Instagram with #spudthestud. He is so fast, so tall, and so awesome. I do not have a green thumb. I enjoy baking cookies, pies, cakes, and other dessert items. I love to ride my bicycle on adventures. I am the best aunt ever and enjoy visiting my nieces and nephews in California and Washington. I love to play soccer and swim.

Where did you grow up and how long have you lived in Milwaukee?

I grew up in Willits, California, which is three hours north of San Francisco. It’s a small town in beautiful northern California. I attended Ripon College, in Ripon, Wisconsin for undergrad and after graduating with my teaching certificate, I moved to Marquette, Michigan, to work at Northern Michigan University as a Residence Hall Director. While at Northern I completed my Master’s in Psychology, Training and Development. I then moved to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where I worked as the Johnson Hall Director and Director of Community Service and Leadership Development at Carthage College. I started working for Marquette University in 2015 and still live in Kenosha. I have “lived” in the Midwest for 16 years (including when I was at Ripon College).

Whoa, you’ve been to so many places! What is your favorite educational experience?

One of the reasons that I started working in higher education instead of teaching high school social studies was because I really enjoyed the extracurricular learning opportunities that I had as an undergrad. I loved my classroom experience as well, BUT I really appreciated the way that my extracurricular experiences enhanced and enriched my classroom learning. I wanted to share this enthusiasm for learning both in and outside the classroom with students and that is why I enjoy working in Higher Education.

What drew you to Marquette and the COED?

I was looking for a position in higher education and came across the job in the Hartman Literacy and Learning Center. I knew that this was a job that I could excel in with my teacher training as an undergrad and my work at both Northern Michigan University and Carthage College. I was excited to be a part of Marquette University and to have a hand in such a great program (the Hartman Center) for Milwaukee and our COED students.

You’ve definitely made a difference here at Marquette! What do you see as an exciting opportunity for this upcoming academic year?

I have applied to the Master’s in Public Service program here at Marquette. I am looking forward to learning a new subject matter and how to apply this knowledge to my role at Marquette and in my volunteer work for the Kenosha Public Library.

So what do you do when you are outside of the office?

I am lover of libraries. I am the Vice President of the Kenosha Public Library Foundation and work to create community partnerships to increase funding for the Kenosha Public Library. I am also a member of the Friends of the Kenosha Public Library where I volunteer at their book sales and events to promote the library. And I love to volunteer for Outreach Services and the Bookmobile sharing the amazing resources that the library has with the community. Sharing all the amazing services that the library provides and does to support the community is what drives me to volunteer in these many ways for the Kenosha Public Library.

I am also a knitter, cross stitcher, and sewist. I have made many different knitted gifts for family, friends, and coworkers over the years. I started knitting in high school when my mom first taught be and have been knitting ever since. I occasionally take a class to learn a new technique but mostly, I rely on YouTube to show me the way. I really started cross stitching when I was between jobs and got into subversive cross stitching. I have been able to sew since I was in middle school and have recently started to sew my own dresses (with pockets). It’s tough work but I am learning and will one day be able to show off my skillz a work by wearing one of my outfits.

Tell us more about what your hobbies mean to you!

I enjoy knitting in while watching shows on NetFlix or AmazonPrime (we don’t have cable and can’t seem to get any reception for an antenna in our house). I have knit many a hat, kitchen towel, scarf, shawl, and blanket while binge watching detective shows. Cross stitching is what I do when I want to listen to a book on tape, because I have to be visually focused on the work, I can’t watch television. Sewing is coming along to either books on tape or watching shows on my laptop.

Any advice for readers who are interested in your hobbies?

Do not ask me to teach you how to learn a new skill. I find it hard to teach someone how to knit, cross stitch, or sew. I generally direct interested parties to YouTube videos or their local knitting, sewing, cross stitching shop for one-on-one instruction. Once you have learned the basics, then I am a much better teacher of certain skills or a project consultant.

You can learn more about the College of Education along with our undergraduate and graduate programs by visiting us online!

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