Getting to Know Our Students: Meet Kat McConnell

This fall, we are continuing our series getting to know our students! You can get to know more of our students and our faculty/ staff on previous posts. Read on to meet Kat McConnell, one of our doctoral students in the Counselor Education Counseling Psychology department!

katmccI was born and raised in St. Louis, MO. My family (including four little sisters!) still live in St. Louis, so I like to get home to visit fairly often. After getting my BA in Psychology and Sociology at Maryville University in St. Louis, I moved to Muncie, IN in 2016 to get my MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Ball State University, and then I moved up here to Milwaukee last summer to start my PhD in Counseling Psych at Marquette!

I love the opportunity to engage in research with faculty and fellow students. I am a part of the Culture and Well-Being Lab at Marquette, and I’ve had the chance to present our research at a couple of conventions with them in the past year, which is both a lot of fun and a great learning experience. This year I will be starting a practicum at the Milwaukee VA that I’m very excited about! I’ll be doing a palliative care rotation, working with patients living with serious illness, and their families.

When I was looking for doctoral programs, my main priorities were finding a program somewhere in the Midwest, so that I can be somewhat close to home, and finding a program with a welcoming, inclusive academic culture. I found both of those in the Counseling Psychology (COPS) program at Marquette. The College of Education and the COPS program cultivate a collaborative and supportive environment that I felt at home in from my first interview.

When the weather is nice, I love to be outside. Milwaukee has so many fun outdoor festivals and beautiful parks to hang out at during the summer. When it’s colder, I love to indulge in local theater, go to the movies, or curl up on my couch with a good book or Netflix show. And any time of the year, you can find me camped out at my favorite Colectivo, which is my go-to  homework/research spot!

I’m passionate about the areas of serious illness and death/grief, with attention to diverse and underrepresented populations. I’ve had the opportunity to work in these areas as a chaplaincy intern in my masters program, and look forward to learning more this year with my VA practicum in palliative care. Although serious illness and death can be an emotionally taxing area, I also find it to be one of tremendous potential for personal growth. I find it a privilege to go on the journey of making meaning out of difficult circumstances and personal loss with clients. My hope is to continue to work in an integrated healthcare setting after graduation, as well as staying engaged in research on how we can better support diverse clients facing illness, loss, and stigma in the health care field(s).

 

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