Archive for the 'Higher Education' Category

A Letter to a Girl

downloadBy Kathryn Rochford

To the girl who used to stay up late procrastinating just to enjoy being around her friends, keep enjoying yourself.

To the girl who loved pizza nights with her friends, Monday night Bachelor watch-fests, playing catch on the third floor, giving massages, having dance parties. Soak it all in.

To the girl who loved going to classes even when she was exhausted, who loved seeing professors and friends and classmates on the sidewalk, memorize what it’s like.

Remember what this is like and soak it all in because before you know it and can even process it, it’s all taken away from you.

To the girl who sits at her desk all day staring at a laptop filled with updated syllabi, PowerPoints of notes and videos to watch for “lectures” you will get through this.

To the girl who sits with tear-stained cheeks driving a car full of things from an empty dorm room that wasn’t meant to be empty yet. It’s okay to grieve.

To the girl who unpacks in her room overwhelmed by feelings of loss, of the lack of fairness, of fear of how long this will happen. You’ll get through this.

To the girl who is tired of doing the same thing every day and just wants to be with her friends again, it’s ok to cry.

To the girl who FaceTimes her friends all the time just to feel like she’s with them for a little bit, enjoy those phone calls. Think of the memories you had.

To the girl who is scared of getting sick or of anyone she loved and cares about getting sick, it’s okay to be afraid.

To the girl who wishes none of this happened, so does the rest of this world. It’s okay to feel these emotions.

You’re grieving the loss of time with friends, the college experience you thought you’d always have, the events you looked forward to this spring. You’re grieving how happy you were even in the worst of weeks because at least you were with your friends and going to classes.

To the girl who will emerge from this, I hope you never forget it. I hope you remember the lessons you learned about what’s really important.

To the girl who comes out of this, remember how strong you are and how you made it through one of the worst situations life could throw at you. I mean a global pandemic doesn’t happen often. Or ever for that matter.

To the girl who will someday rejoin her friends at parties, restaurants, school and sporting events. Soak it all in. Never forget how much these things matter to you because you lost it all once.

More than anything, remember this too shall pass. Things will get back to normal at some point. You can get through this. I believe in you.


A Letter to Admitted Students from Fr. Jeffrey LaBelle

It’s the time of year when admitted students are deciding what the next step in their educational journey will be. Since this year looks a little different than the past, we want to share some of the messages we’ve been sending to them. Here is a letter from Fr. Jeffrey LaBelle, Associated Professor and Associate Dean, highlighting Marquette’s Jesuit mission.

Joan_of_Arc_ChapelCongratulations on your acceptance to Marquette University! I’m pleased to hear you are interested in pursuing a career in education and that you’re considering joining us next fall. As the associate dean and a faculty member in the College of Education, let me welcome you to our community.  

As you know, Marquette is a Catholic, Jesuit institution located in the heart of Milwaukee. Established in 1881 and named after the explorer Father Jacques Marquette, the university is dedicated to service. Within the College of Education, you will see a strong commitment to social justice in both your coursework and field placements. Service and teaching are the foundation of both our college and our university. We are proud to uphold the ideals of the Catholic Church and offer an education in the Jesuit tradition of forming men and women for others. 

I am confident that joining us in the College of Education will prepare you for a rewarding future as an educator, and you will be supported every step of the way. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions. I look forward to meeting you and potentially having you in one of my classes. 

Best of luck finishing up this academic year—much like Father Marquette, you are set to begin your next great adventure.  

God Bless,
Rev. Jeffrey LaBelle, S.J., Ed.D.
Associate Professor and Associate Dean, Educational Policy and Leadership Department
College of Education 

Interested in learning more about our undergraduate programs in Education? Check out our website for more details or feel free to reach out!

Getting to Know Our Students: Meet Veronica Mancheno

This spring semester, 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 Veronica Mancheno, a doctoral student in the Educational Policy and Leadership department.

Triatlón 2019I was born and grew up in Ecuador. I came to the US at the age of 19 with $200 in my pocket and my brother to care for. Like all immigrant stories, mine is filled with hope, disappointments, celebrations and struggles all of which have gotten us (my sons and I) to where we are. My brother is back in Ecuador after 13 surgeries at Shriner’s Hospital in Chicago. He is now married and has his own family. He works in IT. Our immigrant story is a whole story in and of itself!

I moved to Milwaukee in 2007. It was my first year as a single mother living in a completely new city with no relatives nearby and working for the first time as a full-time, public-school teacher. My sons were five and three years old at that time. My parents and my siblings live in Ecuador with their families. And although that is 3,157 miles away, we communicate every day. We generally get to visit them every two years. My sons and I live here. My oldest, Alejandro, is now 17 years old and a senior in high school and my youngest is 15. Sebastián is a sophomore. Both attend Rufus King, a Milwaukee Public high school that we love.

I have been teaching since before my oldest was born! I started working full time in 2007. Right before coming to Marquette, I worked at Highland Community School (Montessori, MPS charter) in many capacities including teacher (in all levels) and administrator. My ultimate favorite thing to do is to teach and to learn, which means that I absolutely love being a teacher. I have taught children from 3 years to 21 years (young people). I have found joy in all ages and stages of development.

As a student… I loved my first couple years of schooling. However, I hated high school. Once I moved to the US, I began to study in a Technical College. I was already married by then and so my education very much depended on my husband’s job (I’m no longer married). I ended up transferring to Carthage College when my husband came to work in Kenosha Unified School District. I received my undergrad with a major in Spanish and a minor in Education in 2007 from Carthage. Then, I moved to Milwaukee and worked for a couple of years before I started my master’s degree at Alverno. I loved my experience at Alverno because there were no grades. I had never experienced the academic rigor that a ‘no grade’ evaluation system brings. I focused on Administrative Leadership and on Curriculum and Instruction, and I graduated in 2012. In 2014, I begun to study for the AMI Montessori Elementary certification. This took 3 years of studies in total. During all these years, I worked full time and studied part time plus being a mom. That was a whole lot of work!

Now, I’m here at Marquette. I teach one undergrad class, I’m the research assistant for two professors (Drs. Ventura and Gibson) and I’m a full-time doctoral student (and I’m still a single mom! Sometimes I wonder how in the world things get done in my life?). What I have loved about my experience at Marquette is the support I have received from the professors at the College of Ed. Their knowledge coupled with their experience and compassion has guided me from the very beginning.

I met with all the local universities that had a doctoral program in education. I was explicitly looking for:

  1. A doctoral program that could support and guide me in my research regarding students and teachers of color.
  2. A program that understood the complexities of the education of ethnic minorities and low-income families. I was particularly focused on how the representatives of the university talked about race and class to me (an immigrant, Latina, bilingual and single mother). I was truly looking for something beyond the skin-deep type of discourse regarding ‘diversity’ and ‘how good it is’ for education.
  3. A doctoral program that had a scholarship or work/study type of funds because I did not want to work and study part time. I wanted to give myself the gift of studying full time. Something that I have never had the opportunity to do.

Needless to say, Marquette’s College of Education met all three. I will never forget the first meeting with Cynthia Elwood and Sharon Chubbuck. The way they had a conversation with me about race, class and education was distinctly different than the way the conversation had unraveled with the other local universities. They listened to me. That was striking and I talked for a long time, and they listened the whole time! I remember coming out of that meeting thinking: this is it! I will be at Marquette! – even though I hadn’t applied yet! I had the certainty in my heart of knowing I had found where I was meant to do my doctoral program.

I have always been keenly aware of injustices. As a young child, the rights of animals and nature were very important to me. As I got a little older, I recognized the injustice done to children who had to work and couldn’t go to school. I was also aware of the division of social classes and the inequitable structures in society. As an adolescent, I opposed any claim, ideology, or group of people that thought themselves better than others or that created laws that maintain inequalities. As an 18-year-old, I remember wanting to become the ministers of education of my country (what would be the secretary of education in the US). I felt that education can pull us all out of poverty. As I have gotten older and have become more aware of the complexities of human society, I have zoomed into the education of children who come from low income backgrounds as well as ethnic minorities. I believe that an equitable education is not provided with the objective of creating a generation of good workers or professionals. An equitable education is provided as a matter of human development and the dignity of the communities that have been historically oppressed. This I am passionate about!

Who inspires me? Children, the children and young people that have sat in my classrooms. My sons and my parents are the strength that keeps me going.

I have little time left after study/work and home. If there are no impending responsibilities, my favorite thing to do is to be with my sons out in nature. We also love going to back home to Ecuador and spending time with our family there. Of course, we are not able to do these things often enough.

To keep my sanity and also because I love it, I swim, run and bike. Although, in the last two years it has been more of swim and bike due to a back injury. I like to participate in the Iron Girl sprint triathlon.

I also do enjoy reading non-fiction. If I’m not reading research stuff, I’m reading books on nutrition, health, spirituality and/or memoirs. To develop a habit, there needs to be the initial motivation. Although, that won’t take you very far. There also needs to be a mix of just discipline, of doing it even if you don’t feel like doing it. Raw discipline is what gets you to do something during the tough days. There also needs to be a continual source of inspiration – why do you ultimately do what you do? And this inspiration cannot be a ‘negative’ by that I mean, not based on something ‘bad’ about you that you want to change. But rather the inspiration should come from the positive. And lastly, I believe there needs to be a group of people who inspire you and who like you enjoy the positive trait you are trying to develop. For example: I work out primarily because I love feeling the power that comes from sore muscles. Weight loss – although a natural consequence of exercise and good diet is not the reason. Weight loss is a negative. Feeling powerful, agile, and flexible, these are positives. And feeling those traits when I’m out in nature with my sons is my reward! My sons then are art of the group of people that inspire me and that also enjoy feeling powerful, agile and flexible – more so than me since they are adolescents!

Interested in learning more about graduate programs in the College of Education? Check out our website– or, better yet, come see us in person!



Getting to Know Our Students: Meet Andy Holmes

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 Andy Holmes, one of our doctoral students in the Educational Policy and Leadership Department and a clinical assistant professor/ educational specialist in the Physician’s Assistant program here at Marquette!

aholmesI am originally from Janesville, WI. After high school, I went to Valparaiso University for my undergraduate degree and National-Louis University for a Master’s in Education. I taught English in the Janesville school district for a while and then moved into a curriculum/ librarian/ innovation specialist position; I also coached drama, swim and soccer. I initially started working on my doctorate in 2015 after I learned about UW-Milwaukee’s Information Studies program at a conference. About a year later, I got a job at MSOE as an educational technologist, traveling back and forth from Janesville. In 2017, after my family moved with me to Milwaukee, I started working as a clinical assistant professor and education specialist here at Marquette in the Physician Assistant (PA) program. My wife and I have two children: a son who is starting high school this fall and a daughter who is in 10th grade at Brookfield East. They are on the debate and forensics teams together—and they assure me they’re going to be the state champs!

When I think about the year ahead, it’s often difficult to separate my work from my academic pursuits. I’m excited to be officially enrolled in the Educational Policy and Leadership department’s Ph.D. program. I feel like I have found my niche and I am passionate about the readings and topics, along with the Jesuit mission. The big draw for pursuing this degree was that in searching for a dissertation topic in information studies, I found myself continually circling back to education. Working in the PA program, I’ve recognized a pressing need for education specialists within healthcare. This degree marries my two disparate roles: I look forward to exploring ways in which I can innovate PA education.

Outside of the classroom, I love to ref soccer with my son—it’s a way of getting exercise and spending time with him. I enjoy reading with my daughter and going on walks with my family and dog. When I think about my family and their relation to my work, I have to say I am inspired by my wife. After my undergraduate experience, I graduated with a theatre degree, went back home and started working at a restaurant, where I met my wife. I started subbing in the local schools, and she encouraged me to get a teaching degree, then a Master’s… she always pushes me, challenges me. My wife works hard to make sure our family values are aligned with what is good and right in the world. She runs everything in our home: my kids and my wife are my reason for everything!

Teaching wasn’t my first-choice career. Somewhere along the line I’ve learned that I have an affinity towards nurturing people, to develop higher-order thinking, to see when students have those “a-ha” moments, and those sparks of inspiration. I just love knowledge and the transfer of knowledge. I’ve learned that I have a passion for social justice that I did not initially recognize in myself. I’m excited about the topics and EDPL’s social justice slant on education. I lean towards those topics and critical theory speaks to me. Most people can talk about a favorite teacher or subject, but when I think of my favorite educational experience, it’s paradoxical. It’s both the best and my least favorite life experience: the journey from high school teacher to higher education professor. It’s been both exceedingly difficult and wonderfully mind-blowing. I’ve learned there is so much possible in the world, and I’m excited to see what comes next.

Interested in learning more about graduate programs in the College of Education? Check out our website– or, better yet, come see us in person!

Getting to Know Our Students: Meet Jasmine Babineaux

The College of Education is excited to continue allowing our readers to better know its faculty, staff and students. This week, we’d like to introduce you to Jasmine Babineaux, one of our graduate students in the Student Affairs in Higher Education program. Read on to get to know her better!

jasmineI was born and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana! I moved to De Pere, Wisconsin in 2015 to pursue by Bachelor’s Degree at St. Norbert College. I graduated this past May with a Bachelor of Arts in Writing and Business Management. I’ve been in Milwaukee for a full month now. My grandparents raised me from a baby! I have a 1 year old brother named Levi and a sister who’s 6 months younger than me.

I’m a Graduate Assistant in the Office of International Education. I have two favorite educational experiences: studying abroad in South Africa for a couple of weeks and in London for a semester. Also, attending the LeaderShape Conference the summer after my sophomore year of undergrad was a turning point in my personal growth. That experience still guides me to this day. For this academic year, I’m looking forward to brainstorming places to do my practicum experience!

My decision to attend Marquette was divinely ordained, honestly. I came to the Open House with a friend who is from Milwaukee and was planning on moving back here. One of the faculty members and current students sealed the deal for me. I felt seen and that I would get the most intentional graduate school experience from the SAHE Program that aligned not only with my professional aspirations, but also with my character. I have always loved Milwaukee, the richness of culture, and the big city aspect. I planned to move back to the south, but for some reason I was lead here.

Outside of the classroom, I perform my poetry and write social commentary, I take salsa dancing classes occasionally, collect plants & name them, spontaneous road trips, I host a podcast! Check out my podcast on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Anchor: Respect Her Mind

My inspiration is my baby brother; my best friend, Jordan; my mom & grandparents; young people in general. Other inspirational figures are Ericka Hart and Elaine Welteroth – their work speaks to me in ways that I can hardly explain.

Getting to Know Our Students: Meet Tyanna McLaurin

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 Tyanna McLaurin, one of our Student Affairs in Higher Education graduate students and the Assistant Director of Service Learning at Marquette!

tyannaI was born and raised in Milwaukee, WI. I had the pleasure to going to a variety of schools when I was younger so I’m can adapt quickly to new spaces and I’m unafraid of change (well, somewhat). My favorite educational experience was living overseas as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer. While the experience was not part of a “formal education,” it was indeed a life changing time for me. I learned so much about community work. Much of what I learned stays with me today.

I’ve been out of school for a long time, so the start of every semester is exciting. I’m challenging myself to be open to growth and to do my best. I know I got this! I work as the Assistant Director of Service Learning. I love working in higher education and want to continue on this career track. The Student Affairs in Higher Education Program was attractive to me. I like the relationships I can build with faculty and the support of students.

Outside of the classroom, I do so much. I work with Milwaukee Film-Black Lens Program as the Community Outreach Coordinator. Milwaukee has the 9th largest film festival in the country and I get to spread the word within and among my networks about this gem. History, specifically, African/African American History, tends to be my inspiration for my work and passion. I’m never surprised by social unrest or ‘isms that plague American society. This was all foretold through history. I use history to remain knowledgeable and keep going.

Want to learn more about our graduate education programs? Head on over to our website for more information– or, even better, come visit us on campus!


A New Educational Context

This summer marks the third College of Education faculty-led study abroad trip to Peru. Dr. Melissa Gibson and 11 of our students are studying and learning in Lima while also traveling the country. Their blogs are originally posted on Marquette Meets Peru, and we’re excited to share them with you!

By Hannah Denis


A festival taking place in Plaza de Armas on Thursday June 13th.

Peru is a country filled with rich cultures, many languages, delicious food and a complicated history. To end our time in Peru, we left Lima and took a short one hour flight to Cusco. During our time in Andahuaylillas and Cusco we were able to experience these differences in culture, languages and history. Lima is located in the desert while Cusco is located in the highlands. Throughout our time in Peru, we have learned that those from the highlands have been discriminated against. Many people in the Cusco region don’t speak Spanish, but instead speak the native language of Quechua. They also have a different culture than those living in other parts of Peru. On Wednesday, we went to Cuyuni, a small Andean community and participated in an Andean ritual which gave back and thanked Pachamama, mother earth. When in Lima, I felt it was just another big cosmopolitan city; however, in Cusco I felt the culture, history and traditions everyday. At Plaza de Armas, the main square, parades and festivals take place every day in the month of June.

Monday and Tuesday morning we spent time at Fe y Alegría in Andahuaylillas and in the afternoon we went to the town’s Ludoteca.

Ludoteca is an after school program run in conjunction with Fe y Alegría. Ludoteca provides a safe place for students to play with their peers. Fe y Alegría are Jesuit run schools and social programs throughout Latin America. They focus on providing a quality public education. The Fe y Alegría schools in the Cusco region are very interesting and unique. In most rural schools, Quechua is taught in grades K-3, followed by Spanish in the upper grades. By 6th grade, the goal is for students to be fluent in both Quechua and Spanish.


Students getting breakfast ready at Fe y Alegría

One of the goals of Fe y Alegría is to reinforce students’ culture and then build upon it. Parents play an integral part in their children’s education. Parents come into the classrooms and teach their children about their culture, such things include weaving and dyeing of textiles. Fe y Alegría found that their students were anemic because they only ate meat and potatoes. In order to address this problem, they built greenhouses at the school. Along with this, Fe y Alegría serves a nutritious breakfast and lunch to all of its students. In the primary school at Fe y Alegría there are about 400–500 students. In contrast, at a rural school there may only be 10 students. On Monday at Fe y Alegría in Andahuaylillas I sat in on a primary school science class where they were learning about the planets and our solar system.

On Tuesday, students around the age of 11 made origami, practiced theater and learned about the history and culture of Peru. The history and culture class was particularly interesting. I found it a little confusing that although the school in Andahuaylillas is located in the Andes, Spanish was the only language taught in the primary school.The professor opened the discussion by asking how many students out of about 20–25 spoke Quechua. Only three students raised their hands. She followed this up by asking how many of their parents spoke Quechua and most if not all students raised their hands. She asked her class and wanted them to think about why they hadn’t learned it. It was then their homework to answer two questions: what is cultural identity and why are some traditions being lost. Along with this, it was their homework to practice Quechua. Overall, I really enjoyed our two mornings spent at Fe y Alegría and wished we could have spent more time. I believe that education is context dependent. Comparing Fe y Alegría in Andahuaylillas with the schools in Lima you will immediately see differences, differences that I believe are context dependent. For example, in many Fe y Alegría schools in rural Peru, both Quechua and Spanish are taught. In Andahuaylillas there was a strong emphasis on community, history and culture. However, at La Inmaculada there was a different tune to this story. Both English and Spanish were taught and the school was rooted in the Ignatian Pedagogy. While both Fe y Alegría and La Inmaculada are Jesuit, I felt the Ignatian Pedagogy was being incorporated in different ways. If these schools were transferred directly to another city, they would be missing critical components that these students need. At Fe y Alegría, Colegio Roosevelt and La Inmaculada there are obvious distinctions. For example, at Fe y Alegría, parents and community involvement in teaching history, culture and language is a great asset. At Fe y Alegría I think of the schools involvement with the parents/community in teaching their students about history, culture and language of where they live. Fe y Alegría is also a public school where Colegio Roosevelt and La Inmaculada are both private schools serving the middle class and wealthy. At La Inmaculada, there was a sense of social justice in their pastoral programs which aimed at seeing the equality among people. There was also social activism within the classrooms whether talking about Venezuela or how the school can become greener. At Colegio Roosevelt, I saw a heavy focus on up to date technology, extracurriculars and the arts. If you were to bring either Colegio Roosevelt or La Inmaculada into Andahuaylillas or a rural community, the students wouldn’t flourish. These schools are catering to a certain group of families and students.

In seminar this week, we focused on different broad aspects of education such as privatization vs public education and dual immersion vs bilingual education along with two different child rearing approaches. Lareau, “Invisible Inequality” looked at two different child rearing approaches: concerted cultivation vs accomplishment of natural growth. While neither one of these is deemed better than the other, both have an effect on how children develop. Lareau focuses of three key factors: organization of child’s daily life, language use and social connections. While none of these happen directly in the school, all of these will have a huge impact on schooling. Over time, public education has become more and more criticized. Both Balarín, “Default Privatization of Peruvian Schools” and Ravitch, “Worldwide, Public Education is Up for Sale” look at the privatization of education around the world as one solution to the “failing” of public schools. The main problem is that schools are failing which is solely being measured on quantifiable results. They believe that the solution is privatization since the public sector cannot fix the problem. I believe that privatization is just a band aid to a much bigger problem. If all schools become privatized, there is the possibility they will become a business rather than a place for education and growth. In addition to privatization, there are problems with neoliberal approaches to education as discussed in Cabalin, “Neoliberal Education & Student Movements in Chile”. Cabalin defines neoliberal approaches as policies that “promote the continued privatization of the education sector, which values the right of school choice over the right to an equitable education, and also presents education as a commodity, where schools are presented as a product to buy and sell”. He argues that these policies have only created further segregation, stratification and inequalities. Based on our experience at Fe y Alegría, a public school serving rural communities, I would agree and argue that a neoliberal education is not beneficial to Andean communities. At the core, people shouldn’t have to pay for something that is a human right. In Fe y Alegría, La Inmaculada and Colegio Roosevelt we have seen bilingual education in practice. This is just one way schools can teach a foreign language to their students. Another approach to teaching a foreign language is dual immersion education. In dual immersion education the majority student group learns the new language from the minority group. They are then all taught together. A negative of the dual immersion education is that it creates unseen power dynamics and consequences for those who aren’t the majority in the school.

Throughout my time in Peru, I have been able to draw connections between the Peruvian education system and the educational system in Milwaukee from the vast inequality to the similarities in teaching. My time spent at Fe y Alegría was enlightening to see how a school can combine culture and history while supporting their families and surrounding communities. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent both at Fe y Alegría in Andahuaylillas and La Inmaculada, both providing different insights into different contexts within Peruvian schools.

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