Archive for the 'Counseling and Human Services' Category

Getting to Know Sabrina Bartels

In honor of National School Counseling week, we’d like to introduce you to Sabrina Bartels, an alumna of our Masters in School Counseling program and a regular blogger for the Marquette Educator! You can get to know more of our students and our faculty/ staff on previous posts

Helpinghands.svgI would like to think that I am a true Wisconsin girl. Over the years, I’ve acquired some specific talents that clearly indicate that I am from the Dairy State, such as drinking from a bubbler, making a brandy old-fashioned, and being able to name the Packers offensive line, just to name a few. I guess that makes it even more ironic that I, sadly, must admit that I am not Wisconsin born and raised.

Okay, half that statement is false. I am Wisconsin raised, but not born. See, I was adopted from South Korea when I was four or five months old, so part of my identity lies in my birthplace. But the vast majority of it comes from my wonderful parents and the good ol’ Midwest.

I grew up in Cudahy, which is home to Patrick Cudahy and their famous Applewood smoked bacon (fun fact: if you go by the Cudahy Family Library and the wind is just right, the entire parking lot smells like bacon. It’s pretty heavenly.) I lived with my parents, Jack and Diane – yes, just like the song! My dad actually grew up in Cudahy when he was younger, so I felt pretty cool being the second generation to grow up there. My immediate family is small, but we are pretty close. My dad and I used to watch Packer games together every Sunday, and if we couldn’t be physically together, we would text each other. My mom and I like cooking and baking together, or just catching up on our favorite TV shows. I got married in 2014 to my husband, Rob, and gained an awesome extended family, which includes my nieces and nephew. Getting to be “Aunt Sabrina” is probably one of my favorite things, and I love being able to spend time with each of them! Most recently, we went to a Monster Truck rally to watch the Megaladon truck (one of my nieces is big into megaladons right now.)

My parents always stressed the importance of hard work, education, and faith, all values that I found in common with Marquette University. I joined Marquette Nation in the fall of 2007, intent on becoming a news anchor or reporter. But by the time I hit my senior year of college, I was burnt out, and started doing some real soul-searching to pinpoint what I wanted to do with my life. I knew broadcasting wasn’t the life for me anymore – when you live with the mantra of “when it bleeds, it leads”, you hear a lot of depressing things – and I knew that I wanted to do something that would not only promote positivity, but that would make a difference in someone’s life. I had been a Burke Scholar during undergrad, and had spent a lot of time volunteering with the Big Brothers Big Sisters chapter at Marquette, so I knew that working with youth was definitely what I wanted. After a lot of talks with advisors, hours of research, and some reflection, I decided to get my Master’s degree and become a school counselor.

It’s funny: I applied to two other schools besides Marquette, but I never actually thought about what would happen if Marquette rejected me. After four years of living on campus, I saw Marquette as my home. To me, that was my only option. I never considered another school as seriously. Maybe that’s because I remember applying for my undergraduate degree to many of the same schools, and feeling as though some of those schools strictly saw me as a number, or a certain “quota” that they had to meet. I felt like Marquette truly valued me as a human being, and I didn’t want to lose that connectedness. In the end, I was super blessed that Marquette said yes, launching me into a whole new chapter of my life.

I graduated with my Master’s in 2013, and have been working as a middle school counselor for the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District ever since. In some ways, it’s been a seamless transition; in others, it’s been quite an experience! Marquette prepared me to be a good counselor, but I’ve always maintained that no matter how much you learn in grad school, none of it compares to that gritty, real-world experience that you gain from the job. Books can only take you so far sometimes, and this is definitely a profession where some of it, you will have to learn from experience.

I love my job. I’m not just saying that; I really do. I love my coworkers, my admin, and my students. My admin are so supportive, and my coworkers are like family. We have a “work dad” who looks out for us and gives us advice, and a “work mom” and “work aunt” that are always there when we need them. And as for my students, they can be both a challenge and a joy. At my school, we “loop” with our kids, so I follow my students as their counselor from sixth through eighth grade. I think that’s one of the best things we do. I am able to build relationships with my students and their families, and in turn, they build a relationship with me. When my sixth graders transition to being seventh graders, they know that I will continue to be a constant in their academic careers. That’s really saying something, and I never realized how much of an impact that can have on someone. A lot of my students don’t have consistency in their lives – they may not know where their next meal is coming from, or which parent is going to be home that night – so it’s nice when they know that I will always be there for them.

And honestly, I have never looked back. Really. I have never once regretted leaving the world of broadcasting and becoming a counselor. And while counseling is all about the delayed gratification (most of my students don’t always listen to my advice right away, but I’ve had a number of high schoolers come back and tell me “your advice makes so much sense now!”) I’m okay with that. I know that in the end, I am making the world better. I am helping educate our future, and that is plenty of reward for me.

Plus, there is so much more on the horizon for myself, and for my district. We are moving further into the world of Project Based Learning, and are continuing to make fantastic strides in ensuring that all students have the mental health support that they need, whether that’s by having counselors, social workers, or school psychologists in the buildings. We have been starting up new programs at my school, including the Hope Squad and WEB leaders, to help give students more leadership roles in the building. Times are changing, and my district is ready to meet that challenge.

As much as I love my job, I promise that’s not all I do. I have a lot of different hobbies, and I try to fit them all in when I have time! In addition to spending time with family and friends, I love reading, cooking, writing, watching sports (preferably football or baseball, but it’s all about Marquette basketball come November!) and bike riding. Reading has always been my biggest passion though; my parents have fond memories of me reading “If You Give a Moose a Muffin” when I was in preschool. Though I will read almost anything, I am on a historical fiction kick. If you want a beautifully poetic book about World War II, please read “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr. It is worth all the hype that surrounds it. I promise.

People always ask me what kind of advice I would give to future counselors, and it’s hard to say. I have so many things that I want to share, and if I had the chance, I would probably write a book about it. There is so much to learn, and yet, it’s not possible for you to learn everything. Like I said before, nothing prepares you for that very first day of being a counselor. Nothing can prepare you for how your heart will break when one of your students is being abused, or how sweaty you will become when you have to have a hygiene talk with a student. You have to be able to roll with the punches and just see how things turn out. I am far from a perfect counselor, but every day, I believe I learn something new that makes me better. A better counselor, a better daughter, a better wife, and a better person overall.

So maybe that’s my advice: learn something new every day. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You won’t look dumb, or ineffective. Consulting with others is all a part of the growing process.

Oh, and if you worked with a school counselor when you were younger, tell them thank you. It will mean the world to them.

Happy National School Counseling Week!

Getting to Know Our Students: Meet Jennifer Orta

This year, we are spending time 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 Jennifer Orta, one of our current M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program!

IMG_4518I grew up in Aurora, Illinois, which happens to be a suburb of Chicago, as many of us are who are at Marquette. I went to undergrad here in the College of Arts and Sciences and graduated with my Bachelor’s in Psychology and Spanish for the Health Professions in May 2019. I am now getting my master’s degree in clinical Mental Health Counseling specializing in Children and Adolescents. So I’ve lived in Milwaukee for almost five years and most likely will stay here for a few years since I recently got engaged to my best friend and college sweetheart, René Martinez (Engineering, ’18).

I love talking about my family. My family means the world to me. I would not be here without them! Throughout my academic journey, my family has been nothing but supportive. My parents immigrated from Chihuahua, Mexico, in 1994 in search for a better life. They were not planning to stay for long, but then I came along and they realized the amazing opportunities I could have here. I have a younger brother, Salvador who is a senior in high school (I am trying really hard to convince him to come to Marquette!). My mom, dad, and brother are my inspiration and motivation to push through when times are tough.

My college experience has been different than what I expected. I am a first- generation college student. My parents were always and still are very supportive of my academic journey. I was a bit overwhelmed trying to figure out college applications and FAFSA, but my mom and dad were always there as support. I found a large community at Marquette of first-generation students. I found comfort in the programs and opportunities that were available at Marquette for students like me such as the Ronald E. McNair Scholar’s program that helped me conduct research in the Milwaukee community.

I currently am working at Ulta Beauty on the weekends and at the EDPL office. Come visit me for your makeup/skin care (IG: Jennymakeup96) or printing needs!

When I was looking for a master’s program, I was looking for three things: accreditation, fit, and social justice. I found all of those here! The College of Education prepares students with the knowledge and skills to excel in their fields. The college also prepares us to go into the world and fight for those who need a voice. I found my passion, working with the Latinx community, though the values that I learned here at Marquette. My ultimate goal in life is to create focus groups or support groups for children of immigrant parents. Our story is very unique and sometimes overlooked.

I am completing my second semester in the CECP master’s program. As part of the program’s and licensure requirement, I am completing my practicum and internship at Sixteenth Street Community Health Center. I am supervising an amazing woman and team of counselors who share my passion. My supervisor specializes in childhood trauma. It is difficult hearing the stories of children who have experienced trauma at such a young age. But seeing them flourish and grow makes it all worth it.

Advice that I would give to anyone in higher ed: DON’T GIVE UP! You are standing on the shoulders of giants who would move earth and sky to see you prosper. When times are tough, think about who you are doing this for… do it for yourself. You deserve it!

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!

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).

 

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 Students: Meet Mac Goertz

We are continuing getting to know our students this fall! You can get to know more of our students and our faculty/ staff on our blog series. Read on to meet Mac Goertz, a counseling psychology doctoral student.

IMG_3300I’ll be entering into my third year in the Counseling Psychology doctoral program this year. While I have some remaining coursework, my main focus is now with clinical training and research.

Currently I’m training at two different practicum sites— I provide individual psychotherapy to patients in an integrated primary care setting at the Behavioral Medicine Primary Care Psychology Clinic at MCW/ Froedtert Hospital, and I conduct integrated psych testing with kids and adults at Psychological Assessment Services, LLC.

I very much enjoy working with Dr. Lisa Edwards in the Culture and Well-Being Lab. Over the past two years the lab has focused on a community-engaged research initiative called Proyecto Mamá, which seeks to assess the perinatal mental health experiences of Latina moms in the Milwaukee area using qualitative and asset-mapping research methods. The project is funded by a Marquette University Women and Girls of Color grant and is paving the way for future projects within the community, including Círculo de Mamás, a support group for Latina moms that we are developing at Sixteenth Street Clinic.

In my own research I’m curious about factors that promote critical consciousness around issues of race and racism. In particular, I want to know what helps White people become more racially aware and engaged. I want to know what moves Whites to engage in anti-racist work and how we can be better at doing this. In my own journey, I’ve had mentors that have been transformative in helping me to engage with race and consider my own racial attitudes, in particular through the IC-Race Lab (Immigration, Critical Race, and Cultural Equity Lab) in Chicago, IL. Thus, I’m interested in studying the potentially meaningful role of mentorship in promoting racial consciousness among White students.

I moved to Milwaukee in 2017 from Chicago, IL where I worked in addictions counseling in the West Loop of Chicago for a few years. In 2015 I received a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology, with a specialization in Latinx Mental Health from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Before Chicago I lived in St. Augustine, FL where I attended Flagler College and earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology.

Both of my parents grew up in small towns in the Midwestern U.S and followed lifelong careers overseas. I was born in Maseru, Lesotho before our family moved to Swaziland, Uganda, and eventually Vanuatu in the South Pacific. In the 7th grade I attended a small Bahá’i boarding school in Vancouver Island, British Columbia where I remained through high school. I have two older brothers—and now two sister-in-laws! Family is foundational in my journey—they are the “strength to my sword arm,” as my mother would say.

The work of Dr. Lisa Edwards and the Culture and Well-Being Lab motivated me to apply to the Counseling Psychology doctoral program at Marquette. Dr. Edwards is a phenomenal force with an inspiring history of research in the areas of multicultural counseling, positive psychology, and Latinx psychology. She is also a mom—something that has been really important for me to see role modeled in academia.

I love the outdoors. Wisconsin has some incredible places to camp and hike. I’m a big fan of the Oak Leaf Trail where I enjoy walking my dog in the morning and evenings. I also love to hunt for antiques and oddities—I come from a long line of women with a talent for collecting and curating old and new. It’s important to me that my living and working space feel like me and where I come from. Mannequins, taxidermy, old farm tools, family quilts, and house plants line the walls of my home and the Airbnb apartment I manage.

Dr. Joseph L. White will forever be a guiding light in my journey. Considered the Godfather of Black Psychology, Dr. White was a change maker who revolutionized how we think about multicultural, strengths-based psychology today. His life and wisdom inspire me to keep moving forward and remind me that I have a responsibility to use my platform and privileges to work toward equity, healing and liberation.

The other force that inspires my work is my grandfather, Horace C. Walters. He was the last of his generation that I got to know and I recognize his story as so important to who I am. His life has taught me about love and family, about the importance of kindness and being true to conviction. I strive to honor him in the values I live by and the changes I fight for.

 

MUSCLES Impressions: How Interdisciplinary Summer Camp Benefits Students of All Ages

RCP_4677By Dr. Bill Henk, Dean of the College of Education

My visit to the MUSCLES camp this summer left me thoroughly impressed. There was obviously effective collaboration between the Speech and Language Therapy students and our Elementary Education majors, in terms of assessment, planning, and instruction for the children with Autism Spectrum Disorder being served. And the collaboration extended to their faculty mentors in planning and supervision.

In particular, it was gratifying to witness our Education majors implement best pedagogical and management practices with such fidelity and impact. Their ability to continually monitor and adapt to the individual social and academic needs and strengths of the kids was striking.

Likewise, it was commendable that all Marquette students, including the psychology and biomedical science majors who participated, clearly recognized the gifts of inclusion of a diverse group of children drawn from varying socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. A major takeaway for me, given the increasing number of school-age kids on the Spectrum, is that there would be value in all Education majors learning more about teaching them, and for that matter, how to engage the full range of parents of kids with special needs.

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. Contact MUSCLES at mary.carlson@marquette.edu, or doris.walker-dalhouse@marquette.edu for information about the camp.


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