Archive for the 'Summer Series' Category

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 Dr. Leigh van den Kieboom

VandenkieboomDr. Leigh van den Kieboom is  an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Policy & Leadership (EDPL). She teaches Elementary and Middle School Mathematics as well as Teaching in the Middle School. 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 yourself!

I am a mathematics teacher educator with twelve years of K-12 teaching experience who enjoys guiding pre-service teachers as they learn how to teach in our preparation program. I’ve worked in several school districts in the Milwaukee area and have been at Marquette University in the College of Education since 2000.

So where did you grow up?

I grew up in the Milwaukee area and completed an undergraduate and master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee before finishing a doctoral degree at Marquette University.

Sounds like you’ve had many educational experiences! What is your favorite one?

As a K-12 student, I did not particularly enjoy mathematics. I found the subject challenging. I often asked my K-12 mathematics teachers to explain WHY the procedures I was using to solve problems worked. Most often, I received a repetition of the procedure rather than an explanation of the concept involved in the procedure. This was frustrating for me. While in college at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, my views of teaching and learning mathematics changed as I began to study WHY the procedures for problem solving worked. I was fascinated as I revisited the K-12 mathematics scope and sequence with a view toward teaching and learning that included using multiple and hands-on approaches to solving problems. I learned how to use reasoning to explain the thinking involved in the procedures I used to solve problems. I became passionate about sharing what I had learned with others. As a teacher, while most of my colleagues, espoused teaching reading as the favorite part of their practice, I was drawn to teaching and learning mathematics.

Whoa, that’s an amazing change in thinking about math! What drew you to Marquette and the COED?

The focus on social justice drew me to Marquette University and the College of Education. I was particularly drawn to a teacher preparation program that utilized a variety of urban school settings that provide pre-service teachers the opportunity to learn from a diverse group of K-12 students.

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

Revisions to the Marquette University’s common core as well as change to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s teacher licensing has created the opportunity for faculty in the College of Education to reimagine the coursework involved in the teacher preparation program.

Who is your inspiration for your work?

My mom and dad were both public school teachers. They loved their practice and spent years serving the students and parents in the school districts in which they worked. I grew up in their classrooms, first learning about teaching from them! Their passion for teaching inspired me to continue the same journey.

We’ve heard a lot about what you are like as a professor, but what do you do when you are outside of the classroom?

I am an avid sailor. I am part of a family crew (husband Jan; two sons, Pieter and Willem) who race a 38’ sailboat named “Nighthawk” on Lake Michigan. We enjoy weekly course races as well as long-distance races, The Queens Cup (South Shore Yacht Club to Muskegon Yacht Club) and The Chicago-Mackinac Race (Chicago to Mackinac Island). You can find me out on the water most of the summer!

Tell us more about what racing means to you!

Racing on Nighthawk is a beautiful experience that combines time on the water with family. We work as a team in different kinds of weather conditions on Lake Michigan. The most exciting part of the summer racing season is the Chicago-Mackinac race. We join over 300 sailboats in Chicago and sail 333 miles north to Mackinac Island. The race, which usually takes three days, includes weather patterns of every kind, from sunny skies to dark thunderstorms. The crew works 24-7, taking shifts through the night to keep the boat sailing.

Any advice for readers who are interested in sailing?

Marquette University has a sailing club. Interested participants can learn how to sail (on Lake Michigan) with friends from Marquette University!

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 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!

Summer Reading

Bokeh-Bible-6-900By Elizabeth Jorgensen

During break at my school’s College Essay Workshop, Hope, a former student, asked, “So, what are you reading this summer, Ms. J?” A stack of books sat on her desk, bookmarks sticking out of the pages, tattered and frayed.

“This summer, my book club read two books: Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan and The Good Girl by Mary Kubica.” Then, I flipped the question back to her: “So, what are you reading this summer, Hope?” Hope wants to be a reading specialist and told me her summer goal was to read 30 books.

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly.” She held up the book and I saw three women walking hand-in-hand down dirt path. On the top of the book I saw “New York Times Bestseller.”
“I’ve never heard of it. What’s it about?”

Hope told me it’s about women in World War II. She raved about the varying points of view and the arc of the story. She said she loved that it was based on a true story. I told her it sounded like The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah and Hope said The Nightingale was also on her to read list. When the workshop ended, I texted Kathy, a member of my book club, who loves WWII historical fiction, to recommend Lilac Girls.

Summer reading lists are ubiquitous. From People Magazine to The Washington Post and Barnes & Noble’s recommendations, there are plenty of new (and classic) books to choose from. On my summer reading list was something by Lauren Groff. My sister, Olympian Gwen Jorgensen, competed with fellow American Sarah (Groff) True and I often heard about Sarah’s sister, the New York Times bestselling author Lauren.

I met Sarah’s (and Lauren’s) parents at competitions and heard about their childhood and the connection intrigued me. I chose to read Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff when I read this in an article in The Guardian: “Fates and Furies, already a New York Times bestseller, was picked as’s book of the year, with the internet retailer describing it as ‘dazzling’ last month…Groff’s novel has been feted in the US: the Los Angeles Times called it ‘audacious and gorgeous,’ and the Washington Post said it was a ‘a clear-the-ground triumph.’”

The book didn’t disappoint. Groff’s book grabbed me with intense scenes and descriptive language. The woven story, flashing back and forward, first the husband’s perspective and then the wife’s, is about secrets spouses keep.

On the plane to visit my sister, I toted Wonder by R.J Palacio. I read it in the hot tub while my sister swam laps and before we went to bed. I found this book on an Amazon deal—scoring the hard copy for $3.99. According to Amazon, Wonder is “soon to be a major motion picture starring Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Jacob Tremblay! Over 6 million people have read the #1 New York Times bestseller Wonder and have fallen in love with Auggie Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face. The book that inspired the Choose Kind movement.” It’s a young adult novel I look forward to recommending to my students.

There are a few weeks left in summer and I’m hoping to add additional books to my summer reading list—and I’ve decided (on Hope’s recommendation) to start with Lilac Girls.

Adventures in Graduate School

This summer, the College of Education is hosting four students in the Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP). The Counselor Education Counseling Psychology Department’s (CECP)Dr. Jennifer Cook has been working with these students along with a number of graduate students.

Students enrolled in the HCOP program are from economically disadvantaged backgrounds and high schools; they are first-generation college students. Part of a federal grant through the Department of Health and Human Services, Marquette University’s HCOP program began in the School of Dentistry and the Department of Physical Therapy. Since 1996, the School of Dentistry, College of Health Sciences and Department of Physical Therapy have been working together. More than 900 students have graduated from the University’s HCOP programs since its inception. While across campus there is an emphasis on both high school and college-aged students, CECP is working closely with students interested in obtaining a Master’s Degree.

The four students who are participating in CECP’s Clinical Mental Health strand of the HCOP program are recent college graduates and rising seniors considering graduate school. There is no fee during the summer session; students receive a stipend to cover room and board while also offsetting the cost of any lost wages from seasonal employment. As they explore their interests in the mental health field, students will gain hands-on counseling skills training, establish relationships with faculty and graduate students, and gain exposure to the expectations of a graduate program in clinical mental health counseling.

Dr. Cook is focused on trying to prepare them for the graduate school environment, helping them to deal with basic skills so they can deal with the emotional stress that may come. She has created an “Intro to Grad School” course where the students focus on APA style writing, etiquette and how to present themselves, and exposure to Raynor Library along with how to use its resources.

In addition, CECP graduate students are learning along with the HCOP students in the College. Elizabeth Tinsley, a doctoral student, is one of the teachers in the program. When asked how she has changed and been affected by this summer’s experiences, she said: “This has been such a fun experience! They [the HCOP students] are inquisitive and invested, which has been so fun to watch in action as they explore Marquette and challenge themselves to push through uncomfortable situations. I have really enjoyed being a part of their journey and hope to seem them thriving as future Marquette alumni and colleagues!” This combination of current and prospective students’ growth has morphed the summer’s program into a deeper learning experience for all involved.

Want to learn more about the College of Education? Visit us online for more information about our graduate programs in Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology!

What is a Marquette Educator?

Follow us on Twitter