Posts Tagged 'EDPL'

Getting to Know Our Students: Meet Veronica Mancheno

This spring semester, we are spending time getting to know our students! You can get to know more of our students and our faculty/ staff on previous posts. Read on to meet Veronica Mancheno, a doctoral student in the Educational Policy and Leadership department.

Triatlón 2019I was born and grew up in Ecuador. I came to the US at the age of 19 with $200 in my pocket and my brother to care for. Like all immigrant stories, mine is filled with hope, disappointments, celebrations and struggles all of which have gotten us (my sons and I) to where we are. My brother is back in Ecuador after 13 surgeries at Shriner’s Hospital in Chicago. He is now married and has his own family. He works in IT. Our immigrant story is a whole story in and of itself!

I moved to Milwaukee in 2007. It was my first year as a single mother living in a completely new city with no relatives nearby and working for the first time as a full-time, public-school teacher. My sons were five and three years old at that time. My parents and my siblings live in Ecuador with their families. And although that is 3,157 miles away, we communicate every day. We generally get to visit them every two years. My sons and I live here. My oldest, Alejandro, is now 17 years old and a senior in high school and my youngest is 15. Sebastián is a sophomore. Both attend Rufus King, a Milwaukee Public high school that we love.

I have been teaching since before my oldest was born! I started working full time in 2007. Right before coming to Marquette, I worked at Highland Community School (Montessori, MPS charter) in many capacities including teacher (in all levels) and administrator. My ultimate favorite thing to do is to teach and to learn, which means that I absolutely love being a teacher. I have taught children from 3 years to 21 years (young people). I have found joy in all ages and stages of development.

As a student… I loved my first couple years of schooling. However, I hated high school. Once I moved to the US, I began to study in a Technical College. I was already married by then and so my education very much depended on my husband’s job (I’m no longer married). I ended up transferring to Carthage College when my husband came to work in Kenosha Unified School District. I received my undergrad with a major in Spanish and a minor in Education in 2007 from Carthage. Then, I moved to Milwaukee and worked for a couple of years before I started my master’s degree at Alverno. I loved my experience at Alverno because there were no grades. I had never experienced the academic rigor that a ‘no grade’ evaluation system brings. I focused on Administrative Leadership and on Curriculum and Instruction, and I graduated in 2012. In 2014, I begun to study for the AMI Montessori Elementary certification. This took 3 years of studies in total. During all these years, I worked full time and studied part time plus being a mom. That was a whole lot of work!

Now, I’m here at Marquette. I teach one undergrad class, I’m the research assistant for two professors (Drs. Ventura and Gibson) and I’m a full-time doctoral student (and I’m still a single mom! Sometimes I wonder how in the world things get done in my life?). What I have loved about my experience at Marquette is the support I have received from the professors at the College of Ed. Their knowledge coupled with their experience and compassion has guided me from the very beginning.

I met with all the local universities that had a doctoral program in education. I was explicitly looking for:

  1. A doctoral program that could support and guide me in my research regarding students and teachers of color.
  2. A program that understood the complexities of the education of ethnic minorities and low-income families. I was particularly focused on how the representatives of the university talked about race and class to me (an immigrant, Latina, bilingual and single mother). I was truly looking for something beyond the skin-deep type of discourse regarding ‘diversity’ and ‘how good it is’ for education.
  3. A doctoral program that had a scholarship or work/study type of funds because I did not want to work and study part time. I wanted to give myself the gift of studying full time. Something that I have never had the opportunity to do.

Needless to say, Marquette’s College of Education met all three. I will never forget the first meeting with Cynthia Elwood and Sharon Chubbuck. The way they had a conversation with me about race, class and education was distinctly different than the way the conversation had unraveled with the other local universities. They listened to me. That was striking and I talked for a long time, and they listened the whole time! I remember coming out of that meeting thinking: this is it! I will be at Marquette! – even though I hadn’t applied yet! I had the certainty in my heart of knowing I had found where I was meant to do my doctoral program.

I have always been keenly aware of injustices. As a young child, the rights of animals and nature were very important to me. As I got a little older, I recognized the injustice done to children who had to work and couldn’t go to school. I was also aware of the division of social classes and the inequitable structures in society. As an adolescent, I opposed any claim, ideology, or group of people that thought themselves better than others or that created laws that maintain inequalities. As an 18-year-old, I remember wanting to become the ministers of education of my country (what would be the secretary of education in the US). I felt that education can pull us all out of poverty. As I have gotten older and have become more aware of the complexities of human society, I have zoomed into the education of children who come from low income backgrounds as well as ethnic minorities. I believe that an equitable education is not provided with the objective of creating a generation of good workers or professionals. An equitable education is provided as a matter of human development and the dignity of the communities that have been historically oppressed. This I am passionate about!

Who inspires me? Children, the children and young people that have sat in my classrooms. My sons and my parents are the strength that keeps me going.

I have little time left after study/work and home. If there are no impending responsibilities, my favorite thing to do is to be with my sons out in nature. We also love going to back home to Ecuador and spending time with our family there. Of course, we are not able to do these things often enough.

To keep my sanity and also because I love it, I swim, run and bike. Although, in the last two years it has been more of swim and bike due to a back injury. I like to participate in the Iron Girl sprint triathlon.

I also do enjoy reading non-fiction. If I’m not reading research stuff, I’m reading books on nutrition, health, spirituality and/or memoirs. To develop a habit, there needs to be the initial motivation. Although, that won’t take you very far. There also needs to be a mix of just discipline, of doing it even if you don’t feel like doing it. Raw discipline is what gets you to do something during the tough days. There also needs to be a continual source of inspiration – why do you ultimately do what you do? And this inspiration cannot be a ‘negative’ by that I mean, not based on something ‘bad’ about you that you want to change. But rather the inspiration should come from the positive. And lastly, I believe there needs to be a group of people who inspire you and who like you enjoy the positive trait you are trying to develop. For example: I work out primarily because I love feeling the power that comes from sore muscles. Weight loss – although a natural consequence of exercise and good diet is not the reason. Weight loss is a negative. Feeling powerful, agile, and flexible, these are positives. And feeling those traits when I’m out in nature with my sons is my reward! My sons then are art of the group of people that inspire me and that also enjoy feeling powerful, agile and flexible – more so than me since they are adolescents!

Interested in learning more about graduate programs in the College of Education? Check out our website– or, better yet, come see us in person!



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!

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!

Getting to Know Dr. Mary Carlson

The Graduation Doris 20160522_115635College of Education is excited to continue allowing students to better know its faculty and staff. Dr. Mary Carlson is a Clinical Assistant Professor for the Department of Educational and Policy Leadership (EDPL) in the College. We interviewed Dr. Carlson so that our students can learn more about her!

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

I grew up in West Bend, WI. I went to UWM for my undergrad and grad degrees, returned to West Bend to teach, then moved to Milwaukee about 35 years ago.

Teaching is something that is very dear to you. What is your favorite educational experience?

It’s a tie between dissecting cow eyes with high schoolers and teaching children to read.

Sounds like you’ve had some exciting past experiences! What do you see as an exciting opportunity for this upcoming academic year

The first exciting opportunity would be working with Amy Van Hecke from the Psychology department and Wendy Krueger from the Speech/Language Pathology department to develop a college support program for MU students on the autism spectrum. The second exciting opportunity would be working with those same faculty and Dr. Walker-Dalhouse from the Education department to offer the MUSCLES summer literacy and social skills camp for 6-10 year-olds with autism (pending funding, and God willing).

Those do sound like really exciting opportunities! Who is the inspiration for your passion?

My first-grade teacher, Sr. Marianella, several high school teachers, St. Brigid of Ireland, St. Catherine of Sienna, Blessed Julian of Norwich, Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan, Jane Addams, Ignacio-Martin-Baro (one of the Jesuit martyrs), Paulo Feire, Mary Ainsworth, Albert Bandura, Sister Monica Fumo and Susan Henzig, Rueben and Mildred Harpole, Shirley Chisholm, Verdia Moore (my first co-op in college), Jaime Escalante, Jonathan Kozol, many of my college professors, the humanists, my family, my students, and my colleagues.

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

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