Posts Tagged 'alumni'

Where Are Our Alumni? Catching Up With Thess Dobbs

In this #ThrowbackThursday post, we catch up with one of our alumni who participated in an undergraduate version of our Masters in STEM Teaching program, Thess Dobbs. Currently teaching at Milwaukee School of Languages, Thess was recently awarded the Edyth Sliffe Award for Distinguished Teaching in Middle School and High School. Read on to hear more about what she’s been doing since graduating!

thessI teach high school math at Milwaukee School of Languages (MSL). At MSL I also lead the math club, which I started in 2014. In this club, we work on more challenging math that goes above and beyond the standard curriculum. Our students have the opportunity to wrestle with challenging competition-level problems and receive guidance to help them build their skills. Through fundraising we make all activities free or low-cost for our students, and we are proud to make these opportunities, often reserved for privileged students at elite schools, accessible to our students. The racial disparities in the STEM fields begin with the inequities in our school systems, and the process to end those disparities must also start with our schools.

Originally, I am from Milwaukee and grew up with a lot of brothers and sisters. My dad is a professor, and both my parents placed a strong emphasis on learning. Being a big sister made me a natural teacher. The Noyce Program gave me more hands-on experience than the typical pre-service teacher has. It wasn’t until student teaching that I really had to learn how to manage a classroom, but the relationships built during my field placements helped me maintain my confidence during the hard times later on. Thanks to the amount of time spent in field placements, I also got a good sense of the school culture of a few different schools.

Even though we aren’t in touch as much as we used to be, I feel the bond still exists between the Noyce Scholars in my cohort. All the formative experiences we shared as undergraduates are not easily forgotten. One person who inspires me is my grandma, Leona Sherrod, who passed away three years ago. She taught in public school for eighteen years, and taught for eighteen more years in prisons’ adult education programs. Though she is gone now, I’m glad she got to see me become a teacher too.

Interested in learning more about how you can pursue your Masters Degree and Wisconsin Teaching Licensure in just fourteen months? Our Noyce Scholars graduate program is accepting applications through February of 2019!

A Call To Readers: Help Us Honor Our Deserving Education Alumni

By Bill Henk – Our College of Education here at Marquette needs your help.  We’ve graduated thousands of outstanding teachers, counselors, administrators, and counseling psychologists over the years, and we’d dearly love to honor the very finest among them. 

The problem is that the professional work of too many of our most distinguished alumni remains unknown to us.

Many reasons contribute to our ignorance.  Oftentimes our graduates leave the area to do great things elsewhere.   As a result, if they don’t let us know about their accomplishments, then there’s a good chance that we’ll be unaware of them.

Complicating matters is the fact that many of our alums are exceedingly humble and wouldn’t think to promote themselves, while others fail to realize that their work is genuinely award-worthy.  Most work quietly without the expectation of any acknowledgment.  In both of these cases, we need others to bring the efforts of our Education alumni to our attention.

Still another confounding factor is that three of our four alumni awards represent career recognitions.  Consequently, graduates need to have worked in their respective fields for a substantial amount of time.  And here’s the rub.  In the past, we’ve typically relied heavily on faculty nominations, but since many of our faculty members have only worked at MU for no more than a decade, they don’t know firsthand the majority of  alumni who deserve to be nominated.   For that matter, neither do I.

Deserving Award Winners

Before we go any further, let me be clear.  We’ve had some truly incredible  honorees despite these challenges.

Dr. Arnold Mitchem and Fr. Robert Wild

2011 Alumnus of the Year, Dr. Arnold Mitchem, and Fr. Robert Wild

In fact, each year I am thoroughly impressed with what our award winners have achieved to earn their tributes at our annual recognition ceremony.  The recipients always exhibit extensive professional knowledge, highly developed skills, and most of all, an uncommon commitment to social justice.  They embody Marquette’s fundamental tenets of excellence, faith, leadership, and service, and their care for others always qualifies as exceptional.

Put differently, there is NEVER any question that our award recipients are deserving.

Our Awards and How You Can Help

At the same time, we know that our yearly pool of nominees could be expanded if we could identify more of our remarkable alumni.  So, we’re asking for your help — right now — to make us aware of any MU School/College of Education graduate whose work merits consideration.

For the record, here are our alumni awards in our College:

  • The Distinguished Alumnus/a Award recognizes pre-eminent career achievement in one’s professional field and/or exceptional service to Marquette University or the larger community.
  • The Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology (CECP) Achievement Award recognizes outstanding professional achievement in counseling or counseling psychology.
  • The Education Policy and Leadership (EDPL) Achievement Award recognizes outstanding professional achievement in education broadly defined.
  • The Young Alumnus Award honors a nominee under the age of 35 who demonstrates early career success as well as care for the profession and for others.

Please consider nominating individuals you know of (including yourself if appropriate) who might qualify for one of our awards.  You can do so either by clicking here and filling out a brief form, or by letting us know about the Education alumnus/a at deanhenk@marquette.edu.  Even if you don’t have complete information, submit what you do know about the nominee, and we’ll attempt to do the rest.

The bottom line is that YOU can “Be The Difference” for an Education alumnus who has made a difference in the world and deserves to be honored for it.

Marquette Alumni Honorees ARE the Difference

By Bill Henk – Each year  Marquette’s Alumni Awards Weekend begins on Thursday around noon and continues until 10:00 or so on Saturday evening.  In that span of roughly 58 hours, a total of 13 award events unfold across campus, and by my count, some 53 alumni and a spouse as well as two corporate friends of  MU were recognized in 2011. *

The eight MU academic colleges and two schools host their own ceremonies as does the Association of Marquette University Women and the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.  These accounted for 48 of the awards this year.  The weekend was capped, as always,  by the All-University Awards Reception and Dinner where six national honorees received their awards.

The College of Education Award Winners

The College of Education awards program showcased four recipients this year:  Dr. James Wandersee (top left), Dr. Suzanne Trottier Lundin (top right), Mr. David Ebert (bottom left). and Dr. Mark Rusch (bottom right).  James Wandersee, our Distinguished Alumni of the Year,  ranks as a nationally prominent professor and scholar;  Suzanne Lundin, recipient of the Educational Policy and Leadership (EDPL) Achievement Award, served the Milwaukee Public Schools for 34 years with distinction in several key leadership roles; David Ebert is a remarkable public school mathematics teacher and educational leader. Mark Rusch, the Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology (CECP) Achievement Award winner, is a supremely gifted clinician and investigator I strongly encourage you to read their biographies. Continue reading ‘Marquette Alumni Honorees ARE the Difference’

Alumni Perspective: An Update from Baltimore

Nick McDaniels and FamilyBy Nick McDaniels, Alumni Blogger —Let me first say that I am delighted to be contributing this year to the MU Educator. I am grateful for the opportunity and excited to be a part of a growing e-community of educational thinkers.

In contributing to the blog, my hopes are two-fold. Primarily, I hope be part of an ever-increasing, supportive group of MU Education Alumni who are deeply committed to the ideals of the MU School/College of Education and are putting these ideals into practice nationwide while offering help to fellow alumni and current students. Secondly, I hope to provide some insight from the point of view of a young teacher in one of America’s most challenged school districts. Let the fun begin! Continue reading ‘Alumni Perspective: An Update from Baltimore’

33,000+ Reasons To Read About a Remarkable Marquette Alumna

EucharistHelen Reilly died eleven days short of her 100th birthday.  A person can do a lot of living in that amount of time.  I didn’t know Helen, but I learned something truly remarkable about her in the homily of a mass one Sunday at my home parish.She  was a graduate of Marquette and had been a second grade teacher at MPS’s William Cullen Bryant School for 14 years.  Those two counts alone qualify her as someone to honor on our Marquette Educator blog.    But there’s more.

For the record, Helen’s husband, John, had served as a Wisconsin Assemblyman representing Wauwatosa and as a Milwaukee County Civil Court Judge.  Their marriage produced two children, Jane and Peter, and in turn, two grandchildren.  A fulfilling family life is certainly worth celebrating, too.

But it’s another fact that truly sets her apart.  She was a daily communicant. Our priest told us that Helen had attempted to attend mass and receive the Eucharist every day since she made her first Holy Communion, probably around the age of 8.

He estimated her number of trips to the altar at 30,000 times.  If my calculations are correct, though, it’s probably closer to 33,000.  Maybe it seems like splitting hairs, but let me give you a lens on just the 3,000 difference.

A “Little” Perspective

I’ve been going to Communion pretty much weekly for almost 50 years, and I figure my highest possible total would be 2600.  Since my attendance hasn’t always been stellar, my number is probably a fair amount less.

In other words, my entire count of Communion visits at its most generous doesn’t equal Helen’s rounding error.  It will take me roughly eight more years just to reach that amount.  In fact, if I aspired to equal her overall total at my current rate, I would need to live to the ripe old age of 715, still short of Methuselah by 254 years, but obviously a ridiculous lifespan nonetheless.   Even Moses only made it to 120.

Please know that I mean no disrespect to Helen by interjecting these comparisons and references.  On the contrary, I am simply trying to make a point that qualifies as both profound and memorable.

Living the Marquette Mission

Recently I had the good fortune to connect with Helen’s daughter, Jane.  She told me that her mother had a deep love of education and passed it along to her children.   She also recounted a recent experience that gave her insight on the impact her mother had exerted in the classroom.  Her words were as follows:

An incredible thing happened about 2 months before her passing. A young woman, who is a caretaker at St. Camillus, came up and introduced herself to me. She said that she was shocked when she saw my mother. This woman – about age 35- 40 – had mom as her 2nd grade teacher.  She expressed nothing but fond memories of my mom.  It was so thrilling to think that someone remembered her after all those years.

There is one more aspect to Helen’s life that her daughter shared with me, and it bears mentioning.  It turns out that Helen was religious in a very different way.  How? She almost never missed a Marquette basketball game!

So, please join me in celebrating Mrs. Reilly’s long life, one that surely enriched her family and friends  and touched many urban school children in wonderful ways.

And let’s celebrate her receipt of the Body of Christ — done with such frequency that, one foot at a time would measure exactly 6¼ miles high.  That’s got to be pretty close to Heaven, which seems only fitting.

by Bill Henk


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