Archive for the 'Just for Fun' Category

One Space After a Period. That’s all. Period.

Full_stop.svgBy Elizabeth Jorgensen

Between sixth and seventh hour, a colleague, at least two decades my senior, sat in a student’s desk. “I was taught it is always two spaces.” She wolfed her peanut butter and jelly sandwich before her next class began.

“That was when people used typewriters and a monospaced font. Now, computers use proportional type, so one space after periods is the rule.”

“What? How do you know this?”

“Modern typographers—The AP Stylebook, The Chicago Manual of Style and the US Government Printing Office Style Manual—agree: only one space after a period.” Extra spaces add unnecessary geography for the eye, I told her. “You have an iPhone, right? In Messages, hit the spacebar two times in quick succession. The period and one space will automatically be added.” Even iPhone agrees: only one space.

Am I a grammar snob? Maybe. But isn’t it an English teacher’s job to obsess over grammar rules, over evolving style guidelines? Isn’t it my duty to not only know about, but also embrace modernity?

Hoping to find resources to pass along to my colleague, I researched space rules. I found a Business Insider article by Mignon Fogarty: “Why you should never add two spaces after a period.” Fogarty writes, “In HTML and many blogging platforms, no matter how many spaces you type, they get turned into one space. If you want multiple spaces, you have to hard code it in using the HTML code.” Modern writers, publishing on web platforms, follow the same rules as hardcopy publishers, essayists and journalists. HTML, style guides, newspapers agree: only one space.

Am I elitist? Do I care about something trite? As an author and writing teacher, I care about details. I encourage my students to care about details too: how the essay looks, how the words sound, how the language evokes emotion. I want to see a passion that shows in intentional language, action verbs, uniform tenses and varied punctuation and sentence structures. And consistent, single spaces.

I sent my colleague these articles:

Space Invaders: Why you should never, ever use two spaces after a period” by Farhad Manjoo

Nothing Says Over 40 Like Two Spaces after a Period!” by Jennifer Gonzalez

In Gonzalez’s article, I learned that “although APA guidelines at one time reduced the required spacing after a period from two down to one, they returned it to two in 2009 in the 6th Edition (see section 4, first bullet)…In the legal world, two spaces is still the norm.” Gonzalez suggested, “Although both of these exceptions are irritating, they don’t surprise me, as academia and law are not exactly areas where design reigns supreme. I’m almost positive that in both cases, the spacing is being held onto for the sake of tradition.” I know students (especially math and science brained students) find this difficult to grasp. How can the rule be right sometimes, but not always? I am reminded of the colleagues (I wrote about in a previous blog) who sighed at my attention to Oxford comma inconsistencies. The math and science teachers wanted one right answer. But in writing, like art, often there fails to be one. I remind my students that every choice communicates thoughtfulness, research and attention to detail (or a lack thereof).

Do I believe my generation is right and my colleague’s generation is wrong? No. I realize language evolves. I realize what was once commonplace is now an error; what was once a rule is now opposite. And I empathize when students struggle with English “rules that don’t make sense” or “rules that always change.” I also know when I say one space after a period, some students might not realize I also refer to spaces after exclamation points and question marks.

Just like my previous blog about the Oxford comma, one or two spaces after a period (or exclamation or question mark) can technically be right and wrong (depending on the style guide or purpose). But the key is design and ease. How a paper looks impacts how a reader feels. Think of the way a chef prepares a plate. Presentation either excites or horrifies us, meets or exceeds our expectation. Fogarty’s information about HTML alludes to style as well—it matters how text on websites looks, feels, sits.

After reading the articles I sent, my colleague said, “I will have to use find and replace to help me. Using only one space is a hard habit to break. It’s been imprinted in my brain—and fingers—for forty years.”

“Now, if we can only get everyone in our department to do the same…”


What Every Author Shares: Rejection

stamp-2114884_960_720By Elizabeth Jorgensen

YA author Erin Hahn (@writer_ep_hahn) tweeted, “Every author you respect was told no. Their email alert dinged and it was bad news. They entered their work into a contest and heard crickets. They cried buckets over a bad review. They felt inadequate. But they didn’t stop writing and you shouldn’t either.”

When my mom and I completed our manuscript, we submitted it to publishers, agents and editors. The rejections continue to flood my email and mailbox, forcing me to ask, Is our memoir good enough? Does it have a place in the market? Will anyone want to read it? Despite rejections, my answers remain yes, yes, yes.

In alternating voices, our memoir follows the story of my sister. It starts in 2010. Twenty-four-year old Gwen rebuffed USA Triathlon when they recruited her for a sport she never heard of. Eventually persuaded, Gwen dabbled in swim-bike-run and surprised herself with success. She quit her job as an accountant to train full time. As she pursued the Olympic dream, our family agonized over her bike crashes, her relocation abroad and her competitive losses. But, we celebrated her new skills, races won and finally Olympic gold. More than a sports tale, our memoir is an inspiring family story about one daughter’s/sister’s quest for the ultimate in sport and our family that supports her in that journey.

I envision mothers, book clubs and memoir fans delving into our family’s story. Gwen is followed by 42,000 fans on Twitter, 65,000 on Facebook and 138,000 on Instagram. Some of them must be interested in reading about the upbringing and support that led her to Olympic gold?

After seeing Hahn’s tweet, I googled “rejected manuscripts famous authors” and saw a list that included Kurt Vonnegut, Ernest Hemingway, Louisa May Alcott, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Stephen King, Sylvia Plath. Many were told their ideas would “not sell” and “I wonder if any publisher will buy it.” I am not comparing myself to Vonnegut, Hemingway or Alcott—or have ideas of grandeur for my own manuscript—but rejection connects all writers.

One rejection letter called our manuscript “delightful” before admonishing: the book won’t sell. Another editor said we submitted “a very worthwhile submission, particularly in memoirs” but reminded us that “because of the limited number of trade and regional titles” he would have to decline.

Each rejection challenges my mom and me to keep writing, keep believing, keep working. And to keep reflecting, perfecting, polishing. Is our memoir good enough? Does it have a place in the market? Will anyone want to read it?

Yes, there’s a place for my family’s story. Women want to read about other women, uplifting, supporting, cheering each other. They want a glimpse inside an Olympian and the family that brought her to the pinnacle of sport. They want to peer inside sponsorship, agents, media tours. They want to know what it’s like to experience the Olympics, your sister/daughter the gold medal favorite.

Yes, our story has a place on library shelves, on Kindles and in book clubs. Hahn reminds me it’s okay to feel inadequate, but I have to keep believing, keep writing and keep working until I find the perfect publishing house who believes in our memoir’s story as much as we do. And that’s the message I relay to my students when they doubt themselves and ask, Is my writing good enough? Does it have a place in the market? Will anyone want to read it?

Yes. You just need to find precisely the right publisher who will believe as much as you do.


Getting To Know Kirsten Lathrop

April 2018 picThe College of Education is excited to continue allowing students to better know its faculty and staff. Mrs. Kirsten Lathrop is the Director of Field Placements and Licensure. Read on to learn more about Kirsten!

What can you tell us about yourself?

My name is Kirsten Lathrop, and my husband, Brian, and I are parents to twin boys (Caleb & Sam). I’m also a mom to a geriatric cat named Fred.

Have you lived in Milwaukee for long?

I grew up on the east side of Milwaukee near UWM. By the end of middle school, I was living in Shorewood. Aside from two years of college in Minneapolis, MN, I’ve always lived in Milwaukee!

What is your favorite educational experience?

I was teaching third grade when the first Harry Potter novel (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) was released in the US, and I read it to my students every day after recess. We all fell in love with it, and we decided to create and publish a classroom book with all sorts of fun wizard-related writing and illustrations. Some students wrote letters to characters, some concocted wizard recipes (or were they spells?), and some drew amazing artwork for our publication. Third grade was definitely the perfect age to be introduced to this imaginative, detailed book series, and many of my students remembered it years later. I continued to use excerpts from J. K. Rowling’s books in my writing lessons.

That sounds like an amazing teaching experience! What drew you to Marquette and the COED?

The short answer? Dr. Cynthia Ellwood! The longer version? I was a special education teacher with a reading specialist license who was asked to supervise Reading 3 practicum students in the Hartman Literacy Center after school, which I happily did for a semester. Susan Stang was preparing to retire from this position, and I was encouraged to apply. I never intended to leave my teaching job in MPS, as I’d basically “grown up” in the district and have always been committed to urban education. However, as much as I loved my job, I knew I wouldn’t have another opportunity like the one here. I’m so glad I made the transition, even though I do sometimes miss being out with the kids.

We’re glad you saw Marquette as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! What do you see as an exciting opportunity for this upcoming academic year?

I’m always excited to use student feedback and re-imagine the best student teaching seminar experience we can create each semester!

We know we can find you in your office, but what do you do when you are outside of the office?

I love reading, working crossword puzzles, playing board games (and D & D) with my family and friends, and spending time with my extended family.  In addition, I love reality TV shows like Project Runway, Top Chef, and (most) Real Housewives.  I’ve also watched every season of Survivor (which started airing in 2000)—Our son, Sam, has now gotten hooked.  Our family also watches Planet Earth, This Is Us, and Rise together.

You can learn more about the College of Education along with our undergraduate program that Kirsten helps out with by visiting us online!

Getting to Know Dr. Sarah Knox

sarah_knoxThe College of Education is excited to continue allowing students to better know its faculty and staff. Dr. Sarah Knox is a professor for our Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology (CECP) program. Read on to learn more about Dr. Knox!

Tell us about yourself!

I am a Professor in the Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology department of the College of Education, having been at Marquette since 1999. Born and raised in central Ohio, I enjoy the Midwest (though the winters can be a bit of a drag), and am an avid Ohio State fan . . . GO BUCKEYES! I did my undergraduate work in Secondary English Education at the University of Virginia, and taught high school English in Howard County, MD, for 11 years. While teaching, I completed a Master’s in Liberal Arts at Johns Hopkins, and later completed both a master’s and doctoral degree in counseling psychology at the University of Maryland. My mother and brother live in Ohio, and I am mom to a two-year-old furry feline.

Wow, sounds like you’ve had many educational experiences! What was your favorite?

As a student, my favorite experience was in my doctoral program. For the first time in my academic career, I felt that the program wanted, and was deeply invested in, me as a student . . . I was not just a social security number or an anonymous face in a lecture hall. The smaller classes, and my cohort of 8, really provided a nurturing and supportive learning environment, and I was extremely fortunate to work with an amazing advisor.

So what drew you to Marquette and the COED?

I was excited about the opportunity to contribute to a department that was undergoing very promising transitions. I could have gone to other institutions where I would have plugged myself into a very solid existing system, but I was intrigued by the opportunity to contribute to the development and evolution of our programs.

I’m glad you were able to find ways to contribute to our department! What do you see as an exciting opportunity for this upcoming academic year?

I am excited to see how the next several years unfold for our department. Lots of growth is on the horizon, and I am eager to see how these developments enable us to serve our students and the communities with which they interact even better.

We’ve gotten to know quite a bit about Dr. Knox, the professor. What do you do when you are outside of the classroom?

I am quite involved in both choral music and exercise. Music-wise, I sing with two groups (an Episcopal choir; a small group of women who specialize in early music), and each brings connection and joy. As for exercise, I run and bike as often as I can, occasionally hike and swim, and am indeed grateful that my health allows me to do so.

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

Getting to Know Dr. Melissa Gibson


Dr. Gibson being kissed by a monkey on her recent research trip to Bali.

Dr. Melissa Gibson is  an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Policy & Leadership (EDPL). She teaches Elementary Social Studies Methods and Middle/Secondary Social Studies Methods. All throughout this semester, we’ve been getting to know our faculty a little better by sitting down to see what makes them who they are!

Tell us about you! How would you describe yourself?

Thinker. Writer. Mother. Sister. Traveler. Friend. Activist. Creative. Silly. Disorganized. Doubtful. Outspoken. Grounded. Spontaneous. Loyal.

So where did you grow up? And how long have you lived in Milwaukee?

I grew up in the Chicago area, suburbs mostly. I say I’m “from” Elk Grove Village, but I’ve also lived in Skokie, Lake Forest, Harwood Heights, Edgewater in the city—and for many years, I pretended I lived in my older sister’s Lincoln Park and Irving Park apartments. But I have also lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for five years; Madison, Wisconsin, for six years; and Guadalajara, Mexico, for three years. I’ve been in Milwaukee since July 1, 2015.

What was your favorite educational experience?

My most pivotal learning experience was the semester I took off from college to go to Paris. This wasn’t study abroad; this was eighteen-year-old me hopping on a plane to look for work and a place to live and make friends and… When I look back on it now, it doesn’t seem that crazy, but at the time, it was the hardest and most independent thing I’d ever done. In terms of school-based experiences, I don’t know that I can pick a specific one. I’ve been lucky to have phenomenal teachers and mentors throughout my life.

What drew you to Marquette and the COED?

I felt kinship with a university and college that expressed a moral imperative to work for equity and justice in our schools. I also loved the collegiality, the smallness, and the need for faculty not to be hyper-specialized. I’m a generalist at heart. Also, Milwaukee is close to my family and my husband’s family.

We’re glad that Marquette is a good fit for you! What do you see as an exciting opportunity for this upcoming academic year?

I am excited to be returning to Peru for our second study abroad program. For me, it is a mix of all the things I love about this work—most especially, that putting it together has been a creative endeavor. Looking forward, I love the openings that the new core and DPI revisions to certification are creating for us to creatively reimagine teacher education. I hope we, as faculty, can imaginatively think about placements, course sequences, and “high-quality” education.

And, what do you do when you are not teaching?

Not counting all the hours I spend doing laundry, cooking dinner, and resolving sibling quibbles (= parenting), I write a blog and I love to work on my house and garden. I’m also a NY Times crossword addict.

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to write about you! As a fellow blogger, what does blogging mean to you?

I have always been a writer, since my first-grade award-winning Young Author’s Contest poem about my pets. Writing is how I make sense of the world. It is creative, reflective, expressive. I often can’t express in speaking what I can in writing, and I find I can be more vulnerable in writing than I can in face-to-face situations. While my blog is non-fiction/personal essay/social commentary, I’d love to move into fiction writing at some point—I keep a notebook of novel ideas, and every time I drive to the UP, I work a little more on the details of my future screenplay about unlikely love in the northwoods.

Do you have any advice for readers who are interested in blogging?

Start a blog! They’re free. Read Anne Lamott’s book, Bird by Bird. Share what you write, even if it’s just with your best friend.

Who is the inspiration for your work?

My own teachers inspire my work, Mrs. Bessey and Mrs. Harper especially. But also all of teachers who saw moments when I was struggling, personally or academically, and they treated me humanely, with mercy, and with patience. I am also inspired by all the K-12 students I’ve worked with, but especially those whom I’ve failed in some way.

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

Getting to Know Dr. Jennifer Cook

Version 2The College of Education is excited to continue allowing students to better know its faculty and staff. Dr. Jennifer Cook is an Assistant Professor as well as the Coordinator of Practicum/Internship Placements for our Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology (CECP) program. Read on to learn more about Dr. Cook!

Tell us about yourself!

I am a fourth year assistant professor in the department of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology, and I teach exclusively in our master’s program. I am a licensed professional counselor in Wisconsin and Colorado, a National Certified Counselor, and an Approved Clinical Supervisor. I earned my PhD in counselor education from Virginia Tech in 2014, and I began my position at Marquette a few months later. My research interests include culture and diversity, particularly social class and socioeconomic status, and counselor training and preparation.

Where did you grow up? How long have you lived in Milwaukee?

I was born and raised in Florida, and I spent the first half of my life there. After I finished undergrad, I moved to Colorado for my first master’s degree, and I spent the majority of my adult life there. I’ve lived other great places, too: New York, Ohio, and Virginia, not to mention Milwaukee. I moved to Milwaukee just about four years ago when I began my position at Marquette.

You’ve been to so many places! Do you have a favorite educational experience?

Wow, that’s hard to answer because I’ve had so many, both as a student as an educator. If I were to choose just one time point as a student, my counseling master’s program at University of Colorado Denver in particular offered me so many rewarding experiences. My professors introduced me to research and teaching, allowed me to develop my clinical skills, encouraged me unceasingly, and fostered my creativity in a myriad of ways. Truly, I wouldn’t be in the role I’m in today if it weren’t for the peers, professors, and experiences I had there. Nowadays, I love watching my students learn and grow. Sometimes I get to see it instantly when a light bulb pops on or when a student masters a skill for the first time. Other times, I notice it over time, when I reflect on a students’ progress throughout the program or hear them reflect on their changes and growth.

It sounds like you’ve had many enjoyable experiences at Marquette! What do you see as an exciting opportunity for this upcoming academic year?

I think it’s almost always an exciting time in our department because we are not the kind of folks who let “grass grow under our feet,” but this year is particularly exciting. We are growing our program and adding a new specialization in Rehabilitation Counseling. This addition will allow us to reach even more underserved populations in our area and train even more counselors. With the addition of this specialization, our faculty will grow with our expanding student population, which means even more vitality for our program and community.

So what drew you to Marquette and the COED?

Marquette, and COED and CECP more specifically, offered me what I was looking for in my career—a commitment to high quality research and teaching with a focus on social justice, advocacy, and providing high quality training. Further, I feel incredibly supported by my colleagues throughout our program and college, making Marquette a sustainable career choice for me.

You do a lot here at the College of Ed! What do you do when you are outside of the office and classroom?

Currently, I’m pre-tenure so that doesn’t leave a lot of leisure time. I travel as much as I can—locally, nationally, and internationally. I love to engage with new places, cultures, food, landscapes—really, anything I’ve never experienced before. Plus, I’m determined to visit all 50 states (I have seven left!) and to visit as many countries as I can, so I get excited when I’m able to add a new place to the list! I’m an avid reader, and I like to read anything in actual print because I spend far too much time on screens. I cook regularly, enjoy crafty things that don’t require too much skill, and being outdoors. I love to be near the water, especially the ocean, and I treasure times when I can take long walks near the water.

Whoa, those sound like amazing experiences! Tell us more about what they mean to you!

My downtime is important to me. It allows me to reboot and focus so I can feel grounded in my life, but particularly in my work.

Who is the inspiration for your passion?

Overall, I think I’m driven by my deeply held belief that counselors have the capacity to change the world. I truly believe counselors have the skills, knowledge, drive, and passion to help people communicate, to give folks space to heal deep wounds, to bridge divides, and to create positive social change. Because I believe this so wholeheartedly, it drives all aspects of my work: how I teach, what I research, and in what service I participate. Work really isn’t work when you believe what you’re doing makes a contribution, however small, to making a better life for others.

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

Catching Up with Dr. derria byrd

faculty-byrdDr. derria byrd joined the College of Education in the Fall of 2016 as an Assistant Professor in the Educational Policy and Leadership Department. Dr. byrd’s research interests include higher education, race, class and educational (in)equity, organizational culture and change, and Critical Theory. Read on to learn more about one of our newer faculty members!

derria byrd (db): I grew up in Buffalo, NY, and have moved around the U.S. quite bit since then, living in Boston, Oakland, and Madison, where I completed my doctoral degree. My husband, Roland, and I moved to Milwaukee from Missoula, MT, in August of 2016, and had a little one, Sula, join our family in January of this year. Although, I don’t have as much time to read as I used to, I am an avid fiction lover and fan of Toni Morrison and Nadine Gordimer’s work.

COED: What’s your favorite book?

db: My favorite novels include Song of Solomon, Invisible ManOne Hundred Years of Solitude,and Bel Canto. I am also eager to learn more about the history of (education in) Milwaukee. I recently read Matthew Desmond’s Evicted, and I’m eager to start Barbara Miner’s Lessons’ from the Heartland: A Turbulent Century of Public Education in an Iconic American City.

What is your favorite educational experience?

One of my most powerful educational experiences was as a graduate student in an Issues in Urban Education course taught by Dr. Michael Fultz at UW-Madison. Although I’d long had an interest in and commitment to education — I worked in educational nonprofits for nearly 10 years before graduate school — and had been thankful for the broad educational opportunities I’d had, it wasn’t until that course that I discovered how much educational policy, in particular, had shaped my educational trajectory and opportunities. Having been tracked, bused, labeled as “gifted and talented,” and graduating from a magnet school, the issues we discussed in that course made it clear to me not only that I had been an “ed policy baby” but also how the opportunities this afforded me were mirrored by the lack of opportunity faced by other students, including friends from my neighborhood growing up.

What do you see as an opportunity for the College of Education?

I am foremost excited about the College of Education’s work with future counselors, educators, administrators, and (higher) education professionals. Through our work with these students, we can have a significant impact on their commitment and preparation to work toward educational justice in a range of contexts. As such, the applied work being done across the College of Education can serve as models for the ways in which the resources of the academy can be brought to bear, through partnership and real-world awareness, on the most pressing problems of the wider community.

What drew you to Marquette and the College of Ed?

db: During my interview visit to Marquette, I was struck by the collegiality of the department, their shared committed to teaching and student development, and the opportunity to work in an environment that would support my efforts as a researcher, educator, and social justice advocate. In addition, Marquette’s stated commitment to social justice was an important factor in my decision to join the faculty here — and, in particular, my departmental colleagues’ attention to equity, which goes beyond a service orientation toward those who are less fortunate to questioning and changing the structures that continue to generate differential access, success and life chances. Finally, I was drawn to Milwaukee, a city with a dynamic and at-times troubling history, in which a range of community members and activists are committed to speaking up and creating positive change for the city.

Want to learn more about the College of Education? Visit us online today! And be sure to check out our ongoing series “Getting to Know…” all about our faculty and staff!

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