Archive for the 'Staff Spotlight' Category

Getting to Know Heather Wolfgram

Heather Wolfgram joined Marquette University and the College of Education as a Director of Development in November of 2018. With several years of exerience in development on behalf of nonprofit organizations, Heather is ready to to advance the mission of both the college and the university. Read on to get to know Heather, and check out the rest of our series getting to know faculty, staff, and students!

IMG_9016 I’m originally from Big Bend, WI, and I’ve been back in Milwaukee for five years. My family is BIG and very close. All of my extended family still gets together for every holiday. My immediate family gets together almost every Sunday for dinner. Kids and dogs are welcome.

I have my Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Minnesota. I absolutely loved the experience. I learned so much and had the opportunity to build what I think is a really broad skillset. As a social worker I’m drawn to community organizers like Saul Alinsky and Barack Obama. Grassroots community organizing can be incredibly impactful. I’ve always been passionate about higher education and life-long learning. Marquette offered me an opportunity to make education accessible (through donor-funded scholarships) to those who might not have thought it was possible. I also really admire the Jesuit commitment to service and giving back to the community. As I move into my new role, I’m excited about partnering with Dean Henk to build the College of Education Leadership Council.

When not at work, I’m an avid cyclist. I love the combination of being outside, being social, and contributing to my health. When I moved back to Milwaukee, I joined a female cycling club called the Bella Donnas/Cadence. These are some of the most supportive, compassionate, and welcoming women I have ever met. Many of them have become close friends and will likely lead to life-long friendships. I would encourage any women who are cyclists or interested in becoming cyclists to ride with Cadence this spring/summer.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to be part of the Marquette family and I look forward to learning everything I can about the College of Education.

The College of Education provides outstanding academic programs, generates nationally recognized research, and engages in significant community outreach. With the assistance of those who believe deeply in the importance of schooling and mental health across the spectrum, we can be more impactful in all of these social justice pursuits. To contribute to scholarships or community outreach endeavors, contact Heather Wolfgram today! 


Getting to Know Courtney McNeal

McNeal_CourtneyThe College of Education is excited to continue allowing students to better know its faculty and staff. Mrs. Courtney McNeal is the Program Coordinator for the Hartman Literacy and Learning Center. Read on to learn more about Courtney!


Tell us about yourself!

I live in Kenosha, Wisconsin and work in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I am married to a high-school history teacher who also coaches cross country and track (all in Zion, IL). We have a lovely little house and the BEST cat you could ever ask for. His name is Sputnik, or Spud. Follow him on Instagram with #spudthestud. He is so fast, so tall, and so awesome. I do not have a green thumb. I enjoy baking cookies, pies, cakes, and other dessert items. I love to ride my bicycle on adventures. I am the best aunt ever and enjoy visiting my nieces and nephews in California and Washington. I love to play soccer and swim.

Where did you grow up and how long have you lived in Milwaukee?

I grew up in Willits, California, which is three hours north of San Francisco. It’s a small town in beautiful northern California. I attended Ripon College, in Ripon, Wisconsin for undergrad and after graduating with my teaching certificate, I moved to Marquette, Michigan, to work at Northern Michigan University as a Residence Hall Director. While at Northern I completed my Master’s in Psychology, Training and Development. I then moved to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where I worked as the Johnson Hall Director and Director of Community Service and Leadership Development at Carthage College. I started working for Marquette University in 2015 and still live in Kenosha. I have “lived” in the Midwest for 16 years (including when I was at Ripon College).

Whoa, you’ve been to so many places! What is your favorite educational experience?

One of the reasons that I started working in higher education instead of teaching high school social studies was because I really enjoyed the extracurricular learning opportunities that I had as an undergrad. I loved my classroom experience as well, BUT I really appreciated the way that my extracurricular experiences enhanced and enriched my classroom learning. I wanted to share this enthusiasm for learning both in and outside the classroom with students and that is why I enjoy working in Higher Education.

What drew you to Marquette and the COED?

I was looking for a position in higher education and came across the job in the Hartman Literacy and Learning Center. I knew that this was a job that I could excel in with my teacher training as an undergrad and my work at both Northern Michigan University and Carthage College. I was excited to be a part of Marquette University and to have a hand in such a great program (the Hartman Center) for Milwaukee and our COED students.

You’ve definitely made a difference here at Marquette! What do you see as an exciting opportunity for this upcoming academic year?

I have applied to the Master’s in Public Service program here at Marquette. I am looking forward to learning a new subject matter and how to apply this knowledge to my role at Marquette and in my volunteer work for the Kenosha Public Library.

So what do you do when you are outside of the office?

I am lover of libraries. I am the Vice President of the Kenosha Public Library Foundation and work to create community partnerships to increase funding for the Kenosha Public Library. I am also a member of the Friends of the Kenosha Public Library where I volunteer at their book sales and events to promote the library. And I love to volunteer for Outreach Services and the Bookmobile sharing the amazing resources that the library has with the community. Sharing all the amazing services that the library provides and does to support the community is what drives me to volunteer in these many ways for the Kenosha Public Library.

I am also a knitter, cross stitcher, and sewist. I have made many different knitted gifts for family, friends, and coworkers over the years. I started knitting in high school when my mom first taught be and have been knitting ever since. I occasionally take a class to learn a new technique but mostly, I rely on YouTube to show me the way. I really started cross stitching when I was between jobs and got into subversive cross stitching. I have been able to sew since I was in middle school and have recently started to sew my own dresses (with pockets). It’s tough work but I am learning and will one day be able to show off my skillz a work by wearing one of my outfits.

Tell us more about what your hobbies mean to you!

I enjoy knitting in while watching shows on NetFlix or AmazonPrime (we don’t have cable and can’t seem to get any reception for an antenna in our house). I have knit many a hat, kitchen towel, scarf, shawl, and blanket while binge watching detective shows. Cross stitching is what I do when I want to listen to a book on tape, because I have to be visually focused on the work, I can’t watch television. Sewing is coming along to either books on tape or watching shows on my laptop.

Any advice for readers who are interested in your hobbies?

Do not ask me to teach you how to learn a new skill. I find it hard to teach someone how to knit, cross stitch, or sew. I generally direct interested parties to YouTube videos or their local knitting, sewing, cross stitching shop for one-on-one instruction. Once you have learned the basics, then I am a much better teacher of certain skills or a project consultant.

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

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 Janet Cleary

image1Ms. Janet Cleary is the Field Placement Coordinator here in the College. This spring semester, we’ve been interviewing our faculty and staff to learn more about them— get to know Janet today!

Tell us about yourself! Where did you grow up and how long have you lived in Milwaukee? 

I am from Schenectady, New York, and attended undergraduate school at Cornell University. My degree is in Nutritional Sciences. I moved to Milwaukee in 1977 to work for the Milwaukee Public Schools! My employment at MPS was in two departments: School Nutrition (my undergrad major is Nutritional Sciences), and Human Resources (I earned my MS in Industrial and Labor Relations at UW-M).

It sounds like MPS has really been a big part of your life!

While I am not an educator, all my professional work experience prior to Marquette COED was in the K-12 educational setting. While at MPS, I enjoyed visiting schools and seeing the impact my job had on the student’s success in the classroom.

What drew you to Marquette and the COED?

I retired from MPS in June 2013, with the intention of being “retired.” Little did I know that this would only last one semester! In January, 2014 I came to Marquette, and have never looked back! I have now been here for 4+ years, and I LOVE Marquette! After the public school setting, where I was required to be  “secular,” I am now able to attend religious services on campus, and am supported in my faith journey by the Faber Center for Ignatian Spirituality.

We’re glad to hear that you’re enjoying your time here at Marquette! What do you see as an exciting opportunity for this upcoming academic year?

I am very excited that we have found a few new schools with which to partner for student teaching/field placements next school year! I am also excited that each year we have a few more grads as cooperating teachers. They understand the rigor of the coursework, and the importance of an exceptional field/student teaching experience.

We’ve heard quite a bit about Janet the Field Placement Coordinator, but we would also like to know about what you do when you are outside of the office!

I love to bake and cook and enjoy hosting friends at my home. I also enjoy reading and have recently been binge watching British TV series—Victoria, the Crown, Call the Midwife…. a guilty pleasure of mine is watching the Real Housewives of New York.

Those hobbies must mean a lot to you! Can you tell us more about how their impact?

I love to nurture friendships, and feeding people is such a good way to let others know I care about them. I used to prepare food for and serve at the St. Ben’s Meal Program. That was a great way to put my desire to serve and care for the other into action.

That’s amazing! Do you have any advice for readers who are interested in doing similar hobbies?

I would encourage readers to explore their own interests, and sometimes there is an intersection between our interests and a need in the community.  If I hadn’t come to Marquette, one of the volunteer activities on my retirement list was working in a literacy program.

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


Getting to Know Coreen Bukowski

BUK grads x3The College of Education is excited to continue allowing students to better know its faculty and staff. Ms. Coreen Bukowski is the Academic Coordinator for the Department of Counselor Education & Counseling Psychology (CECP) here at the College of Education. We interviewed Ms. Bukowski so that our students can learn more about her!

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

I was born and raised in Brookfield, Wisconsin, and now reside in South Milwaukee with my husband (Joe) and two sons (Joey and John).  Since I began my employment with Marquette University in 1987, I’ve been providing service to others.  Specifically, in my first position at Marquette I was a Representative in the Student Loan Accounts Office.  In 1993, I changed careers from business to academia within the College of Education as a Program Coordinator in the Hartman Center.  In 2007, I was given the opportunity to be an Academic Coordinator in the Department of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology (CECP).  Academia is exciting to me because I not only watch students grow, but I learn from them as well.  Furthermore, I am a 2000 Marquette University graduate, having earned a Bachelor’s in Arts and Sciences, and an avid Marquette basketball fan.

It sounds like you really enjoy your time here at MU! What inspires your work?

In my job I work with a diverse group of people and perform a variety of duties.  The best part of my job is working with current students, prospective students, student workers, and Marquette alumni.  My work is satisfying because I help those who are working towards helping others (as counselors, psychologist, etc.)!

What do you see as an exciting opportunity for this upcoming academic year?

In the CECP department, I am looking forward to an upcoming expansion of a new Master of Science specialization in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling (starting fall 2019).  We believe this will bring in more students, as well as new staff and faculty to the department.  Not only is this an exciting opportunity for the department but the community as well!

So what activities to you do when you are outside of the office?


In my time away from the department, I enjoy spending time with my family, friends, church and community activities.  In my time away from Milwaukee, I enjoy going to Marco Island, Florida for relaxing and Crivitz, Wisconsin, where I go hiking, fishing, and discovering the Northwoods.  I’ve been married to Joe since 1991 and we are very proud of our sons who are both MU undergraduates.  Furthermore, John graduated in May 2017 from Marquette’s physician assistant program and Joey will be graduating from Marquette’s Law School in May 2018.  If I am asked what my greatest blessings are, I say they call me “Mom.”

You can learn more about the College of Education along with our Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology program by visiting us online!

Getting to Know Tina McNamara

Continuing our series about our faculty and staff, we interviewed Tina McNamara in order to get to know her better. Ms. McNamara is the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Advising & Student Services here at the College of Education.

MU 1988 89

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

I grew up in Lewistown, Ohio, population 200! I moved to Milwaukee in the fall of 1989 to attend graduate school here at Marquette and definitely experienced a lot of culture shock during these first few months. Now that I’ve lived here so long, I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I met my husband here (he’s from Louisville, Kentucky), and we have two sons, Michael (16) and Stephen (22).

What is your favorite educational experience growing up?

I’ve had lots of great experiences, but probably the most influential experiences for me occurred during second and third grades. I was fortunate enough to have the same fabulous teacher for both years. She really instilled in me a love of learning and especially a love of reading. We have stayed in touch all these years – I always see her whenever I am back in Ohio visiting my family.

So what drew you to Marquette and the COED?

I initially chose MU for graduate school because I wanted to go somewhere that had the resources of a large school but still had a small school feel. Moving to a city was also appealing to me. The opportunity to return to MU after being gone for several years, and particularly to work with Education majors, was just too good to pass up. Teaching and teachers are very important to me. Several of my family members are teachers, and I taught in Alverno College’s Weekend College program for over 20 years. I always felt the work I did as an instructor at Alverno helped inform my work as an advisor here and vice versa.

It sounds like you really enjoy your time here at MU! What do you see as an exciting opportunity for this upcoming academic year?

Every year is exciting! One of the things I enjoy most about my job is seeing how much our students grow and develop during their time here.

What activities to you do when you are outside of the office?

When my boys were younger, I was very involved in activities at their grade school. I was even a Cub Scout leader for 10 years. Currently, I help out at my son’s high school, and I’m pretty involved at my Church. One hobby I particularly enjoy is singing – I have been a member of the Community Chorus for many years. I’m also an avid reader and movie-goer.

I think it’s important to try to find balance and explore a variety of interests. Singing, reading, going to movies, volunteering at school and Church, all help keep me sane!

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

Personnel Passions Project: Tyra Hildebrand

Tyra Hildebrand spends her days working with Teach For America students as Marquette’s program coordinator. But, in her spare time, Tyra can often be found getting her work out on the soccer field. While her main passion is raising her two girls (ages 6 and 9) to be caring, considerate, contributing members of society, Tyra also enjoys the break from her everyday routine that playing soccer affords her.

VIEW SOCCER SLIDESHOW (photos by Ben Smidt)

Tyra has been playing soccer since she was 7 years old. Her three older siblings also played the sport, along with her mother, who played on a team when she was growing up in the Bay Area of California. All in all, Tyra has played soccer for well over twenty years! In fact, she specifically chose to attend a Division III school so she could continue to play soccer competitively while in college. Continue reading ‘Personnel Passions Project: Tyra Hildebrand’

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