Archive Page 3

2020 Outstanding Counselor Education Counseling Psychology Graduate Students: Peter Grau and James McDonald

Each spring, the College of Education celebrates faculty, students and friends with the annual Mission Recognition awards ceremony. As this year’s event had to be canceled, we wanted to share some thoughts and words from our student winners. Our 2020 Outstanding Counselor Education Counseling Psychology doctoral students, Peter Grau and James McDonald, reflect on what this award means to them.

“…the amount of support that we get at Marquette to do the things that we’re trying to do is pretty remarkable. And I know that both of us have had a lot of big things, good things happen this year that I think wouldn’t have happened without the community around us. So, thank you…”

2020 Outstanding Counselor Education Counseling Psychology Master’s Student: Alice Lindo

Each spring, the College of Education celebrates faculty, students and friends with the annual Mission Recognition awards ceremony. As this year’s event had to be canceled, we wanted to share some thoughts and words from our student winners. Our Outstanding Counselor Education Counseling Psychology Masters student, Alice Lindo, shares her reflections on what this award means below.

file[4404]I am honored to have received this award. My heart is overwhelmed with gratitude and excitement. Marquette is such a special community, and it’s great to be in an environment that overlaps with my own personal values. May we never forget where we come from, and always strive to incorporate service, social justice in all parts of our lives, and display excellence by living authentically. Leading by example. Thank you to the faculty in the Counselor Education Counseling Psychology department who inspire me daily by doing just that. I hope to do the same.

2020 Outstanding Educational Policy and Leadership Graduate Student

Each spring, the College of Education celebrates faculty, students and friends with the annual Mission Recognition awards ceremony. As this year’s event had to be canceled, we wanted to share some thoughts and words from our student winners. Our Educational Policy and Leadership Outstanding Graduate Student is Jordan Mason. 

jordan-masonWhen I learned I had been selected as the recipient of this award, I was incredibly overcome with emotion. Since joining the Marquette community in 2018 and the Milwaukee community four years prior, I have fallen in love with the goodness of the people in this city. We are a community of lovers, thinkers, doers, and believers. I’m eternally grateful to be recognized as one of those people, and I’m even more flattered to be selected amongst my extraordinary and bright peers.

You can also view Jordan’s full remarks on our YouTube channel.

2020 Outstanding Elementary Pre-Service Teacher: Olivia Commer

Each spring, the College of Education celebrates faculty, students and friends with the annual Mission Recognition awards ceremony. As this year’s event had to be canceled, we wanted to share some thoughts and words from our student winners. Olivia Commer is one of two Outstanding Elementary Pre-Service Award winners. 


I just wanted to take a little bit of time to say thank you to all the incredible professors who work in Marquette University’s College of Education. I truly would not be who I am today without their help and I greatly appreciate everything they’ve done for me the past four years.

You can also see Olivia’s full remarks on our YouTube channel.

2020 Outstanding Elementary Pre-Service Teacher: Cynthia Zuñiga

Each spring, the College of Education celebrates faculty, students and friends with the annual Mission Recognition awards ceremony. As this year’s event had to be canceled, we wanted to share some thoughts and words from our student winners. Cynthia Zuñiga is one of two Outstanding Elementary Pre-Service Award winners. 

C95FAD23-37F9-4A78-9DC7-7CF4F0564747It is an honor to win this award. I’d like to send a huge thank you to all of the professors, staff and everyone else whom I have met through the College of Education. They are the people who have taught me and truly prepared me for the moment when I get to have my own classroom.

In addition, there are no words to be able to thank my family for the immense support they have given me throughout these four years. There was never a day that my mom wouldn’t remind me of the change that I will make in my classroom. As a minority, there is always that sense of “not being good enough,” thankfully my parents squashed that mindset for me right away. They reminded me that my culture and my background are the foundation of the educator I want to become, and they were right.

As I just accepted a teaching position in a dominantly Latinx school community for next year, I am eager to remind my students of the power they hold and the force of nature they will be in this world. With this award, everything that has occurred during these four years has come full circle. All of my late nights were worth it. All of the classroom observation hours were worth it. All of the twenty-plus page lesson plans were worth it. Every single factor that has made up my four years in the College of Education has led up to this moment. Once again, thank you, Marquette, for honoring me with this award and for everything they have taught me along the way.

A Love Note to Milwaukee

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. We reached out to a local community member, Michael Hostad, to ask for his insight into why Marquette’s hometown, Milwaukee, is so special.

downloadCongratulations on your acceptance to Marquette University, and let me be one of the first to say “welcome to Milwaukee!” Whether this fall would be the first time you’ve stayed in our city or you’ve lived here for years, it’s fair to say that your perspective is about to shift. I’ve lived in the greater Milwaukee area all of my life, and I deeply love this community.

As the executive director of The Commons, I have the pleasure of working with college-aged students from a variety of institutions and local business executives in our skills accelerator each semester (sidenote: check us out at to see if our programming will fit in your schedule). What I consistently hear from leaders of local businesses is that they are looking for young, talented individuals like you to join their teams. Additionally, as co-founder of Light the Hoan, an effort to light up Milwaukee’s iconic Hoan Bridge, I believe this city has a bright future — and I’m excited for you to be part of it.

You’re probably going to have a lot of people recommending restaurants, cultural institutions and custard shop comparisons—and, you should definitely check out all of those! I’d also like to suggest you explore Milwaukee’s diverse neighborhoods and the organizations working to make a difference. They need energetic and innovative minds like you to problem-solve and affect change. In fact, your new campus home is located in a vibrant and evolving community called the Near West Side. You are now part of a neighborhood that is thriving and bringing new business to a historically underserved part of Milwaukee. I know that your experiences in Service Learning will give you a taste of our city; I’m encouraging you to take more time and truly immerse yourself.

College is not only a time of great academic achievement, but it can be a time of personal growth and life-changing experiences. You have the power to forge your path and nurture that growth; take advantage of the opportunities provided by both Marquette University and its home, Milwaukee. In the spirit of Father Marquette, use your time on campus to prepare for a life of adventure and service to others. These next steps are all yours.

Enjoy the journey,

MICHAEL HOSTAD | Greater Milwaukee Committee
Executive Director & Co-founder, The Commons
Co-founder, Light The Hoan

Interested in learning more about undergraduate and graduate programming in the College of Education? Visit us online or reach out; we’re here to help!

Uneven Schooling in Crisis and Beyond

paper-and-a-pencilBy Dr. Bill Henk, Dean of the College of Education

“How well are our schools educating students when their buildings are closed?” As an education dean, that’s a question I get asked frequently nowadays, second only to, “How is it going with all of your university courses now being online?”

Both questions reflect the enormous disruption that has been thrust upon education at all levels by the insidious coronavirus threat. All things considered, higher education faculty and students seem to be taking the hurdles pretty much in stride. But despite the best efforts of K-12 schools of all types, significant variability exists in their capacity to deal effectively with the abrupt and epic change in the way instruction must occur during this crisis.

My recent exchanges with teachers and student teachers indicate that schools are attempting to deal with the setback in many different ways. In schools that did not have much existing infrastructure in place, limited instruction seems to be occurring, even in some affluent suburban districts. Others remain essentially on standby, waiting for more guidance from their leaders.

By contrast, some very well-prepared schools have already made the transition to full day on-line instruction. Many others are dutifully and thoughtfully preparing weekly printed packets of materials with assignments for students to complete. The remainder reside along a continuum somewhere in the middle using a wide range of different technologies.

What is most striking about the situation, though, centers on the number of students who do not have Internet access. It’s no surprise that urban and rural schools would generally be more vulnerable to instruction that relies on technology. A seasoned urban education leader recently noted that it would take an astonishing 10,000 Internet Service Provider installations to bridge the on-line, instructional access gap in the city alone. Another estimated that 40% of Milwaukee families with school children lack connectivity. Even when urban and rural schools manage to provide students with devices like Chromebooks and iPads and arrange for network installations, technical support is often needed to ensure their proper functioning on the new home network.

“But what about the free hot spot offers?” you ask. There’s no question that they are extremely valuable and commendable in our current circumstances. However, many families are fearful of the charges they might incur after the grace period, or believe they won’t qualify, because of an outstanding debt to the provider.

In short, the educational playing field seems far more unlevel than most of us imagined.  Students in urban and rural areas are likely to be disadvantaged in their learning ALL the time, not just during extenuating circumstances like the current pandemic.

On the plus side, the $2 trillion dollar federal stimulus package does include funding to help address these discrepancies. But it is not clear how soon the help will come, how it will be implemented, or if it will be nearly enough.

If the pursuit of educational equity for our school children represents a sincere aspiration for our state, region, and community, then we need to work together to determine actionable and affordable ways to remedy this crippling technological disparity. That will be no small feat with so many related barriers to overcome.  It will take a broad-based coalition of determined stakeholders joining forces to combat this daunting challenge.

Otherwise, the current health crisis will eventually end, but glaring inequities in educational opportunity will not.

Marquette’s Center for Peacemaking and College of Education: A Budding Collaboration

downloadBy Marquette University’s PeaceWorks Team

Peace and education go hand-in-hand: relationships, lessons, socialization, empowerment and more in schools lay important individual and collective basis for harmonious and just societies. This understanding has been the foundation of the Marquette University Center for Peacemaking (CfP)’s signature Peace Works program(MUPW), as well as a developing collaboration with College of Education faculty and graduate students.

Since 2014, MUPW has brought peace education and violence prevention curriculum comprised of 30 different lessons to over 2500 students in urban Milwaukee schools. MUPW, implemented in partnership with area K-12 schools, aims to increase young people’s capacity to identify and resolve conflicts nonviolently. The program is implemented in partnership with area schools and encompasses topics such as thought-feeling behavior, grounding techniques, perspective taking, values, and empathy. MUPW adheres to a model of progressive transformation with the belief that learning peacemaking and conflict resolution skills can positively impact a student’s experience of and contribution to school culture, family engagement, and peaceful neighborhoods.

Beginning in the summer of 2019, CfP and the College of Education’s Dr. Gabriel Velezhave worked together with a faculty research team to develop a comprehensive understanding of the impact of MUPW in four K-8 Catholic schools. The efforts have included mixed methods analyses, new measures, collaborations across campus and beyond, and grant applications for research-to-practice partnerships with Milwaukee schools. Dr. Velez has supported this work by drawing on his own work on peace education, restorative justice, and adolescent civic development, while Educational Policy and Foundations graduate student Maddie Hahn has participated in analyzing past years’ data as a guide for next steps.

Since MUPW aims to provide students with the skills necessary for them to employ nonviolent communication and select prosocial ways of building relationships with others, the research began with a focus on faculty and staff perceptions of the efficacy of MUPW in impacting student behavior and positively changing school culture. To this end, a first paper—recently submitted to an academic journal—discussed results from focus group to explore the perceptions of teachers and administrators on the influence of MUPW as it relates to the nonviolent behavior of students and has there been any impact on the overall school culture. This work has also been published on the Wisconsin Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies Peace Matters Blog.

Creating systemic change to transform attitudes and actions is a difficult challenge. Understanding the impact of and developing more effective peace education requires time, thoughtfulness, and deep engagement with the people actually involved. Our efforts so far are just first steps in the collaboration between the College of Education and CfP’s MUPW team. The challenge is long-term, multifaceted, and extends beyond classrooms and schools. In a world where inequalities and injustices have been laid bare by COVID-19, we will continue to work together to support students in becoming peacemakers in their schools, families, and communities.

Marquette University’s Center for Peacemaking is an academic center focused on research and action for the promotion of peace, human dignity and justice. Programming allows students and faculty to expand their knowledge and develop their skills around nonviolence in Milwaukee and beyond.

A Message From Dr. Gabriel Velez

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. Dr. Gabriel Velez joined our faculty this past August and shares why he chose Marquette University.

Gesu_Church_MilwaukeeCongratulations on your acceptance to Marquette University and the College of Education! Education is such a fundamental and critical part of social justice, and now more than ever we need passionate and dedicated educators. Here in the College of Education we are devoted to fostering and supporting the development of young people like yourself who can change the world.

Like many of the other faculty and staff, I am passionate about our work and come to this position after many years in a classroom. I am now an Assistant Professor at Marquette, but before going to graduate school, I taught middle and high school in New York City, Peru, and Colombia. Teaching was certainly a challenge for me, but it was also incredibly rewarding work that I believe made a difference in the lives of individuals and in the broader trajectories of communities and countries.

In the College of Education, we are passionate about creating personal, individual connections with our students to guide them in their development as successful, effective educators. Through small class sizes we are able to create a community that fosters learning and growth. Our faculty, staff, and current classroom teacher mentors come from diverse backgrounds. Together I believe we can offer students like you the training, guidance, and experiences to graduate as a prepared teacher and a strong job candidate.

I am confident that joining us here in the College of Education will set you up for a rewarding career as an educator, and you will feel supported and mentored every step of the way. Please feel free to reach out with any questions. One of my favorite parts of this position is working with students, and I would love to be a support for you in any way I can.

I look forward to meeting you and hopefully having you in one of my classes!

Gabriel Velez, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Educational Policy and Leadership Department
College of Education

Want to know more about our undergraduate and graduate programs in the College of Education? Visit us online or drop us a note!

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.


What is a Marquette Educator?

Follow us on Twitter