Archive for the 'Alumni Voices' Category

Getting to Know Our Alumni: Meet Jay Posick

This fall, we are continuing our series of getting to know our alumni! You can get to know more of our students, alumni and our faculty/ staff on previous posts. Read on to meet Jay Posick, one of our alums!

I have lived in Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, and Waukesha, but have lived in Wisconsin since 1977. However, I currently live in Merton, WI. I am married to my wife of 27 years, Jenifer, and we have a daughter, Lauren, who is 19. I am currently the principal at Merton Intermediate School in Merton, WI. I enjoy learning alongside our students, staff, and families. I like the supportive community and the chance to celebrate the learning that happens in our school every day. Screen Shot 2019-10-08 at 2.20.15 PM (1).png

My favorite educational experience is being in classrooms with our students and staff every day. We are embarking on determining ways that we can meet the social/emotional learning needs of our students and staff.  It’s so important as an educator to teach children and not just the content.

 I was drawn to Marquette as a track athlete and engineering student, but quickly changed to realize that teaching and education was really who I am and what I wanted to do. I am also a runner (I have a running streak that dates back to August of 1987) and some of our family trips have been to places that I have run marathons (New York City, Boston, Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, Chicago, Cincinnati).

I am inspired to be my first principal as a teacher, Joe Vitale, and my first superintendent as a principal, Mark Flynn, as well as my #principalsinaction professional learning network on Twitter and Voxer. Any teacher or administrative candidates who would like to visit our school are more than welcome to contact me at jayposick@gmail.com or just stop by our school in Merton, WI.

Reflections of a Middle School Counselor

downloadBy Sabrina Bartels

When people ask me what it was like being a first year counselor, I often mention that there are some things grad school never prepares you for: that first, super awkward conversation about hygiene; the first time you have to call Child Protective Services about the abuse of one of your students; the patience you must show every time a kiddo tells you that another student is looking at them in a funny way … AGAIN. In some ways, working in a middle school is “baptism by fire” – you just have to jump in, do it, and reflect afterwards. The things you hear, the things you see – some of those things you really don’t know how to respond until you are in the middle of the situation.

For me, I also experienced a bit of a culture shock in my first job. I went to a parochial school for my elementary and middle school years. My entire 8th grade class was 15 students, the majority of whom I had gone to school with since kindergarten or first grade. All of our parents knew each other, since they volunteered at different school events together. Things changed slightly when I went to public high school, but in different ways. Sure, my graduating class was bigger (I think we were around 230 kids for my senior class,) but it was smaller than a lot of other schools. The city I went to high school in also has a very quaint feeling to it (I often tell people it was like living in the movie Pleasantville.) I loved it, and thrived there, but it still gave me a nice sense of security. I would say that it wasn’t until college that I began having classes with multiple students of different ethnic backgrounds, or was greatly exposed to people who didn’t have the same upbringing as I did.

So you can imagine my naivety (and shock) going into West Allis, which is a much more diverse area. There are some students at my school who are shouldering adult burdens that I can’t even imagine tackling when I was in middle school, much less now as an adult. Their strength and resilience are just amazing.

This past August, our school district asked Dr. Christopher Emdin, author and professor at Columbia University, to give a keynote to start the school year. Listening to him, I wish he had been there my first year of counseling. Not only is he a phenomenal speaker, he tackles the subject of urban education with humor, common sense, and empathy.

If you are a first-year educator, please do this: get a copy of Dr. Emdin’s book called “For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood … and the Rest of Y’all Too.” Read it. It will change your life and how you work as an educator, regardless of where you work. I promise you. And if you ever get a chance to hear him give a talk, please do it. He is wonderful.

I love his book “For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood …”, and the chapter I found most prolific (for me) is called “Code Switching.” Dr. Emdin notes that not every student in every classroom feels validated for who he or she is. Some students come to school and can successfully navigate between their “home” culture and their “school” culture because they are very similar. I think about my own upbringing – my rules at home were pretty similar to what they were at school: work hard, listen to adults, ask questions, things like that. This is very different from some of my students. I remember one of my students telling me that school wasn’t important because it wasn’t teaching him about real life. When I asked what he meant by that, he explained that school was not going to teach him how to care for his younger siblings, stay safe in an increasingly dangerous neighborhood in Milwaukee, or help his parents with their financial struggles. To him, school was a barrier, an inconvenience that took him away from his real goals in life: get out of his neighborhood, help his parents, and look out for the little kids. I had never heard this before.

The idea with code switching is helping students consciously realize when they need to “code switch” from their home mode to school mode. It also invites teachers to learn the slang and culture of each of their students. Dr. Emdin gives a great example of his book: having students imagine themselves at the local park, watching people play basketball. Then invite the students to talk the way they would with their friends. Encourage them to use this as the “privileged” language in class for a while. After this, ask students to imagine themselves at a fancy Ivy League school with manicured lawns and meeting with the adults at this school. How would students speak then? What does that privileged language sound like?

I always like when my students come into my office using slang, even when I don’t know what it means. First of all, it is a great bonding opportunity with students – they can teach an adult some of the up-and-coming slang that is popular. (Of course, when I use these around my nieces, they roll their eyes at me and tell me I don’t sound cool …) Secondly, this gives me the chance to see where my kiddos are coming from. I remember one student telling me that the slang she used was directly from her family, who were all from a certain city in Mexico. She told me all about how the slang her family used was different from her close friend’s family, who was also from Mexico, but a different city. And the added bonus of staying up to date with the cool new terms? When I hear kids using certain slang in the halls, I can figure out what they’re saying and (for the most part) whether it’s a compliment or not.

A lot of Dr. Emdin’s book is geared towards teachers (I do not co-teach a class, for example), but I would argue that every educator could learn something from it. He has great insight on camaraderie and courage, which I also took some advice from, and think every educator – administrator, counselor, and teacher – could benefit from reading. It makes you reflect on your practice and how you can grow from it. I’m not saying that it will prepare you for everything (again, you will NEVER know what it’s like to have some conversations with students until that opportunity presents itself,) but it will give you a good heads-up about working in a more urban environment and what you can do to help build relationships with your students. I will definitely be using some of his tips and ideas with my new 6th grade class that just started at the middle school. I look forward to sharing how this works with them!

If you would like to learn more about Dr. Emdin, I encourage you to check out his website!

Racism On Our College Campuses: What Can We Do About It?

This post is excerpted from a post written by Dr. Ryan C. Warner (Class of 2019) that originally appeared on gradPSYCHblog.com as a part of the series, “CARED Perspectives,” developed by the APAGS Committee for the Advancement of Racial and Ethnic Diversity. Posts in this series  discuss current events and how these events relate to graduate students in psychology. If you are interested in reading more, please see Dr. Warner’s full piece and follow him on Twitter!

RCP_9005By Ryan C. Warner

Similar to the rest of society, colleges and universities are not immune to racial discrimination. With “Blackface” party incidents and “noose” hangings making news at numerous universities all over the country, racially underrepresented students face challenges beyond the academic scope of tests, papers, and projects.

As a current graduate student of color who has attended various predominantly white universities, I can attest to the fact that racial discrimination can be displayed covertly (e.g., microaggressions) or overtly. These incidences have a profound impact of an individual’s well-being, and can impact their retention and life satisfaction. But the main question is, “what can we do about it?”

At the individual level, we need to all stand up to racial injustice when it occurs. Silence is compliance and only encourages and enhances racial injustice in the world. Individuals of all backgrounds and skin colors should point out bigotry when they see it, which will ultimately create social awareness and bring light to these issues.

At the institutional level, university leaders should make systemic changes to enhance inclusivity for students of color. One example may include requiring that all students, faculty, and staff attend diversity training focusing on racial equality and inclusion. Additionally, ensuring that campuses have a bias incident report system in place can offer a resource for students to document their experiences of racial microaggressions, which may assist with providing evidence that these incidences do in fact exist. This documentation may be useful with further presenting evidence for the need of diversity resources and inclusivity programming.

For additional resources please visit:

Dr. Ryan Warner is a graduate of the College of Education’s Counselor Education Counseling Psychology doctoral program

Getting to Know Our Faculty: Meet Dr. Alie Kriofske Mainella

The College of Education is excited to continue allowing our readers to better know its faculty, staff and studentsDr. Alie Kriofske Maniella joins our faculty in the department of Counselor Education Counseling Psychology this fall. Read on to get to know her better!

alie-k-m-2019I was born in Milwaukee and lived in the lower level of a duplex on 68th and Center. When I was a little girl, I made five goals for myself that have stuck with me all my life: to join the peace corps, fall in love, make a record of music, write a book, and interact with a monkey. I have the last two left. When I got a little older, I decided I’d love to be a university professor and am so glad to get to realize that dream at Marquette University.

I have been working with people with disabilities since I finished my undergraduate degree and continued that work when I joined the peace corps after college. I have a partner named Tad (there’s the falling in love goal checked) who is a writer and two kids. My son Coen is 15 years old and my daughter Lucy is 11. We love travelling and music (Coen is named for Leonard Cohen and Lucy for Lucinda Williams). We just got a dog. His name is Petey, and he’s a beagle mix and a very tenderhearted dog.

I have always loved school, particularly when writing was involved. I was involved in the creative writing program at UW Milwaukee in my undergrad and love to write short stories in my free time. I was a Trinity Fellow here at Marquette University while I got my Master’s Degree and fell in love with the culture here. I am so happy to be back.

Aside from creative writing, I also am a musician; I write songs (there’s the make a record of my music task on my list, though it was a CD that I made in 2002). I also play the guitar and the ukulele; you can find me playing and singing on my front porch and various farmers markets, street festivals and open mic nights.

I am passionate about disability rights, sexual health education and the mixing of these two topics. I love talking to parents about how to talk to their kids about sexual health and willingly dole out advice to anyone who has questions, so feel free to stop by my office in the Schroeder Complex if you have been asked a hard question by a young person in your life and aren’t sure how to phrase the answer! I’m inspired by so many who have worked in the various intersecting fields that I work in:

  • Beatrice Wright for her pioneering work in framing disability as a positive challenge,
  • Ed Roberts for his advocacy for himself and others in the creation of Independent Living Centers in the US,
  • Sonya Renee Taylor for her poetry, art and activism in self love, and
  • of course Dr. Ruth.

I feel tremendously grateful for being invited to work, teach and research at Marquette University in the Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology department in the College of Education.

Behind Every Military Weapon System Should be Someone Advocating for Her/Him

This post originally appeared on Dr. Darnell Durrah’s blog. About the author: Dr. Darnell A. Durrah Jr, is a licensed counseling psychologist current serving the men and women of the US Army. At the end of the day, he is most proud of just being a kid from Compton!

US_Navy_030513-N-5576W-002_Antwone_Fisher_speaks_to_Sailors_gathered_in_Naval_Station_Great_Lakes'_Ross_AuditoriumBehind every weapon used to protect the innocent is a woman/man that took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic….

We might not agree with every political decision, but they (we) took an oath!

One of my favorite Denzel Washington movies is Antwone Fisher.

Prior to becoming a licensed counseling psychologist, I was a master level therapist. I’ve always used the phrase “whowillcryforthelittleboy

Now, I’ve always taken that as who will advocate for those that can’t or don’t know how to advocate for themselves

As an Army psychologist I will be here to ensure Soldiers are advocated for.

I’ll advocate for evidenced based treatment. I’ll advocate for transparency in treatment as it applies to military regulation. I will advocate to ensure ready resilient resources are provided in a timely manner. I’ll advocate for the privacy of your protected health information

I’ll also inform you that psychological treatment is a sign of strength, courage, and hope! I’ll let you know that if your symptoms (not you as a person) meet criteria for a diagnosis, I’ll explain that with compassion, care, and concern. I will also let you know that treatment works. I’ll let you know the new normal is possible

Lastly, those that are concerned about PTSD, I’ll discuss with you all about PTSG #PostTraumaticGrowth.

Dr. Darnell Durrah graduated in 2014 with a doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the College of Education

Reflections on the 2019 MUSCLES Camp

Marquette offers a summer camp addressing literacy and social communication skills for children on the spectrum, aged 6-11. The MUSCLES (Marquette University Summer Communication, Literacy, and Enhanced Socialization) camp occurs during three weeks in summer. An interdisciplinary initiative of the Colleges of Education, Health Sciences, and Arts and Sciences, the camp not only serves local children but also employs students. We caught up with Megan Smith, Class of 2019, to find out more about her experience.

MUSCLES 2019 meganBy Megan Smith

As a student, I connected with Dr. Walker-Dalhouse in class through her course and my work experiences in the College of Education. She invited me to participate in the camp two years ago, but it didn’t work out given my work schedule. What overall drew me in was through working with students on the autism spectrum, I had observed the fact that there are so many misconceptions about what student on the spectrum can and cannot do. Through my own curiosity, I discovered that there is not a lot of research out there, just speculation and was concerning to me as an educator. Thus, when I was told about the research, I was eager to participate.

My favorite part was watching the kids make friends and accept on another and not see differences. They look at the world through their eyes and see only similarities (an aspect that we as humans forget to see). The most challenging was learning each of their personalities in such a short period of time. I felt like I just ‘really’ got to know them, and camp was over.

I feel this will help me teach ALL young scholars. Through understanding how a variety of learners see the world and how they learn, I can better meet all students where they are and help guide them to success. This practice helps me see there are multiple ways to succeed at one task.

Prior to the program, I had always taught social skill and academic skills such as reading in isolated time periods I knew that cross-curricular teaching was possible, but I had never felt confident but now I truly see the benefits and that children grow and prosper when taught via a cross-curricular curriculum.

 

 

 

 

 

Cell Phone Chaos: How Social Media Has Changed Middle School

iphone-410311_960_720By Sabrina Bartels

When I was a sophomore in high school, I was becoming a pro at participating in both Debate and Forensics meets. Our team would meet at our high school early in the morning, get on a school bus, and then head out to a different school to compete. During this time, many of my fellow speakers acquired cell phones, since our meets rarely ended on time, and gathering all of us on the bus was quite an adventure. I, however, did not get a cell phone. When asked by my Debate coach why I didn’t have a phone, I cheekily responded, “it’s because I’m Amish.”

Fast forward a few weeks to parent-teacher conferences. My Debate coach – who was also my Politics teacher – sat down and met with my mom. As they were talking, my Debate coach commented, “You don’t look like what I expected.”

My mom was used to this. She laughed and said, “Because I’m Caucasian and my daughter is Asian? It’s because she’s adopted.”

My Debate coach laughed too and said, “No, because Sabrina told me she was Amish! I was expecting you to come in a bonnet and a buggy.”

My mom was mortified. And I’m sure it comes as no surprise that it took a LONG time before I got a cell phone after that stunt.

It’s funny to think back to that instant and to a time that I did not have a cell phone constantly on me. It’s even scarier to think of how cell phones, and other methods of communication, have evolved over my lifetime. When I was six, I remember my dad had a pager so that we could reach him at work in case of an emergency. That was pretty high-tech! It wasn’t until I was in high school that more people started carrying pagers and cell phones. And by the time I started college, almost everyone had a flip phone. By the time I graduated four years later, iPhones were the new trend. It was startling to see that people could check their emails or Facebook from their phones, or take amazing pictures without the aid of a digital camera.

When I think back to those times, I become more and more appreciative of the fact that my parents held off on getting me a cell phone as long as they did. Working in a middle school, I see how easily it is for people to get consumed by their phones and social media. A lot of my students are constantly on their social media, whether that’s texting, tweeting, Snapchatting, or taking pictures for Instagram. And to be fair, it’s not just teenagers (I must admit that I’m scrolling through Facebook while I write this post.)

There was this fascinating article written by a teacher named Benjamin Conlon called “Middle School Misfortunes Then and Now, One Teacher’s Take.” In it, Conlon details how social media and cell phones have completely revolutionized the whole middle school experience. It’s fascinating to read his example of what an embarrassing middle school incident was like in 2008, versus 2018. What was once a one-time incident that could easily be forgotten can now be turned into a meme or another viral video.

We often say that teens have it much easier than we did back in the day, and in some respects, it’s true. Technology has made information more accessible. But in the same respect, it’s a double-edged sword. Technology has made it harder for students to leave the stress of school at school. When I had a fight with friends at school, it started and ended at school. The only way we could contact each other was calling each other on a landline phone. Now, students can text or Snapchat each other, post rude messages on Facebook, or spread hateful comments on Instagram. They feel invincible, hidden behind their computer or cell phone screens.

How can you help your middle schooler through their social media struggles? Here are my suggestions:

  1. It’s really okay to wait for a phone. To be fair, I am not a parent. I know a lot of parents have told me that they gave their middle schooler a cell phone because they walk home. That makes sense. However, that doesn’t mean they “need” a smartphone. A flip phone or a prepaid phone that allows your student to call or text someone in an emergency is just fine, gets the job done, and causes a lot less drama in the process.
  2. Talk about password privacy. The amount of middle school drama caused by students sharing each other’s passwords and then posting things “for” their friends is ridiculous. Teach your student that passwords are absolutely private. Only family members should be able to go on your social media.
  3. Check your student’s social media. I had a parent this past year who religiously checked their child’s Facebook and had his email linked to her phone so that she could track what her son was writing to others. Some people thought that was a complete invasion of privacy. This mom saw it as her son thought twice before he sent or posted anything he didn’t want her to see. This also allowed her to see what others posted, and who his friends were on Facebook.
  4. Set specific rules up. Some parents have rules that their student only gets their phone from 4-7 pm at night, and it must charge downstairs overnight. I really do think this is helpful. The number of students who have confessed to me that they stay up all night watching YouTube videos or texting is pretty high.
  5. Practice what you preach. I am just as guilty of this, but I usually do try to make a conscious effort to put my phone away when I’m with my family and friends. This is especially true when my nieces and nephew come over. I don’t want them to think that they can get away with sitting on their phones the whole time because “Aunt Sabrina gets to.” This also promotes time for kids to get to know their parents and family members more. That interaction is super important!

Also, remind your students that you have been there, you’ve lived it, and – better yet – you survived! That in itself can be more reassuring than anything.


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