Marguerite Ohrtman, director of school counseling and M.A. clinical training in the counseling and student personnel psychology (CSPP) program, recently was elected president-elect of the Minnesota School Counselor Association (MSCA) Board. The MSCA Board represents school counselors across the state to promote, educate, and advance the school counseling profession. Ohrtman’s term as president will begin in the 2019-2020 school year.
For the past four years, Ohrtman has served on the MSCA Board as vice president of post secondary institutions, representing the school counseling training programs in the state. This year, she served in a dual role as vice president of post secondary and president of the Lakes Area Counseling Association, the regional association representing school counselors in the west and south metro.
Please join us in thanking Dr. Ohrtman for her continued leadership of school counselors here at the U and across the state!
Counseling and student personnel psychology (CSPP) students and faculty donated school supplies to Elizabeth Hall International elementary school in Minneapolis where CSPP alumna Jessica Lambrecht (pictured above) is the school counselor.
Thanks to all of our CSPP students and faculty for their generosity. Lambrecht and the school are very grateful!
Over 25 students from the program attended, along side over 550 school counselors from across the state. Students participated in the graduate student social, attended and presented at workshops, and participated in the awards banquet. Three groups of students from CSPP presented.
Presentation 1 (above left): “Weathering the Storm: Helping students and families benefit from the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP).” The presentation was original research the group started last year exploring the knowledge of school counselors and the MFIP.
Presentation 2 (above right): “Row Your Boat: Self-care and Resiliency for School Counselors.” The presentation was based on data that was collected from school counselors in the state related to their caseloads and resiliency/self-care.
Presentation 3: (not pictured): Cristina Silva Gleason, Abbie Mayfield, Anastasia Osbeck, and Dr. Carolyn Berger presented “Best Practices for Supporting Gender Nonconforming Students.” Their presentation focused on helping school counselors understand how to best advocate for gender nonconforming students and make school a safe and welcoming place where all students are set up for success.
Presentation 4 (not pictured): Dr. Marguerite Ohrtman and Dr. Carolyn Berger also presented on “Ethical Issues in Supervision.”
Congratulations to all of the CSPP students and faculty who attended!
On the board, the students redesigned the website, created a logo, helped put on two professional development workshops, two social events, and networking events, collaborated with regional counselors, and served on committees.
“My original plan was to major in history to then attend law school, but my mom encouraged me to also get my teaching license,” she recalls.
As a student teacher, Ohrtman taught eighth graders and loved it which led her to pursue a career in teaching. Her first permanent position was as a middle school and high school history teacher in a small, rural town in Iowa where she also coached volleyball, basketball, and cheerleading.
After teaching for two years, Ohrtman discovered she enjoyed working with students on a more personal level and decided to pursue a career in school counseling. She earned both a master’s degree and a doctoral degree from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Ohrtman worked as a school counselor at Shakopee High School while earning her doctoral degree and was also an adjunct professor during her doctoral program.
Today, Ohrtman is the director of school counseling and M.A. clinical training in the Department of Educational Psychology, specifically within the counseling and student personnel psychology (CSPP) program. When asked about her position here Ohrtman says, “I feel fortunate that I get to combine my two passions—teaching and counseling—in my current job.”
Ohrtman is a leader in the field of school counseling. In 2016, she was awarded the College of Education and Human Development’s New Career Excellence Award. She is the Lakes Area Counselors Association (LACA) president and treasurer. For the last four years, she’s been the vice president of post-secondary institutions for the Minnesota School Counselor Association Board. And she was recently elected President-Elect of the Minnesota School Counselor Association for 2018-2019.
“The most exciting part of my job is definitely working with our students.” Ohrtman says.
“I love mentoring and advising students as they progress through our program.”
Ohrtman’s advice to students: “‘Don’t stew, just do.’ Often times we get in our own way of our dreams and goals. I encourage students to do more and to challenge themselves each day. I also tell them, ‘Ask your advisors and mentors for help when you need it.’ We all want to help if we can!”
Outside of work, when not chasing her two toddlers, Orhtman loves traveling with her husband and mom, especially to California and Europe. She also enjoys going to Twins and Gopher games, shopping, taking her children to the zoo, photography, and wine.
“I am proud to say that I work for the University of Minnesota and the Department of Educational Psychology,” Ohrtman says. “I have amazing colleagues in the CSPP M.A. program.”
“I look forward to continuing to connect with others here at the U!”
The Department of Educational Psychology had five presentations at this year’s College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) Research Day held in McNamara Alumni Center on March 27. This annual event gives faculty, staff, and students across all departments of CEHD an opportunity to showcase their work and what they are doing on a local, national and international level.
Each presentation is in one of the college’s priority research areas which are—children’s mental health and welfare; education research and educational equity; living better, living longer; and autism and developmental disabilities.
Educational Psychology poster presentations
Education Research and Educational Equity
Development and Field Testing of Two Technology-Based Inferencing Interventions
*B. Bresina, *K. Wagner, K. McMaster, P. Kendeou, and the TeLCI and ELCII Teams
The Early Writing Project: Building on Promising Research
*K. Wagner, *E. Lam, *B. Bresina, *S. Birinci, *N. Weber, and K. McMaster
Secondary Mathematics Teachers’ Knowledge and Misunderstandings of Statistical Models
*Michael D. Huberty, Andrew Zieffler, Robert delMas, and *Nicola Justice
Characterizing the Features of Instruction in Community College Algebra Courses
Dexter Lim, Irene Duranczyk, Laura Watkins, Vilma Mesa, April Ström, and Nidhi Kohli
Autism and Developmental Disabilities
Testing Two Observational System Approaches to Measure Behavioral Reactivity during Modified Quantitative Sensory Testing
*Alyssa Merbler, *Breanne Byiers, *Chantel Barney, and Frank Symons
*Denotes current or past student
Bolded names denote Educational Psychology faculty, staff or researchers
On March 13, Dr. Sherri Turner, Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s counseling and student personnel psychology program, testified before the Minnesota House of Representatives Education Innovation Policy Committee on school counselor training. Specifically, Dr. Turner discussed the need for school counselors to have additional training and resources for military career options as well as for career opportunities in high-wage, high-demand occupations in the skilled trades.
SCP is a division of the American Psychological Association nearing close to 1,000 members from the United States and numerous other countries. Its members are primarily psychologists with a shared interest in the consulting process including research, evaluation, education, and training.
Thompson states, “My life’s mission is finding ways to change the world,” he continues, “The depth of wisdom available through SCP members is inspiring – I’ve never met so many capable, thoughtful, wise change agents in my career. I’m excited about facilitating ways to help them make an even bigger impact.”
Thompson is also founder and CEO of Leadership Worth Following (LWF), a Dallas-based leadership consulting firm that continuously enhances its expertise through both research and real-world experience.
The Minnesota School Counselors Association held their annual Day on the Hill on March 15 at the state capital in St. Paul. Students and faculty in the Department of Educational Psychology’s counseling and student personnel psychology (CSPP) program met with legislators and senators to promote the important work that school counselors do for our students and school communities.
“The college is uniquely positioned to address many of our toughest educational challenges,” said Dean Jean K. Quam, “especially in areas such as educational equity, teaching and learning innovations, and children’s mental health and development.”
Learn more about the Department of Educational psychology’s top-rated master’s and doctoral programs.
On Saturday, March 3, graduate students from the Department of Educational Psychology’s counseling and student personnel psychology (CSPP) program dove into Lake Calhoun’s icy waters to support Special Olympics Minnesota. Several students raised money for the plunge, including: Michael Rask, Rikki Hemstad, Drew Wandschneider, Brandon Forcier, Addison Novak, Sarah Sorenson, Shelby McCabe, and Melissa Derby (’17 CSPP alum).
Nearly all of the current CSPP student body supported this year’s Polar Plunge through donations, and many came to Lake Calhoun to cheer on their classmates. The group raised a total of $2,169 to support Special Olympics.
Congratulations and great work to all of our CSPP Polar Plunge participants!
The 18th Annual Educational Psychology Graduate Student Research Day (GSRD) was held on March 2, 2018 to celebrate outstanding student accomplishments in research. GSRD provides an opportunity for graduate students to present their research and to be recognized by peers and faculty.
The event took place in the Mississippi Room in Coffman Memorial Union and featured four student research paper presentations and 34 posters on display with students available for Q&A. Faculty and peers were able to walk around and learn more about the variety of research taking place within the department.
GSRD is a well-attended and well-recognized event at the University of Minnesota, and the Department of Educational Psychology continues to be pleased with the excellent work students produce on their research accomplishments.
The Center for Education Innovation’s (CEI), Thank a Teacher program allows students to provide unsolicited feedback by sending thank you notes to teachers who make a positive difference in their education and personal development.
The note reads: “Thank you so much for a great semester Sherri. The environment you made in the classroom made it such a nice place to want to come and learn more each session.” -Tara Ostendorf”
Have you had a teacher that has made a difference in your education? Visit CEI’s website to thank them.
The Center for Education Innovation’s (CEI) Thank a Teacher Program allows students to provide unsolicited recognition by sending thank you notes to professors who make a positive difference in their achievement and development.
Hannah Boldt didn’t always know she wanted to be a counselor. Initially, she pursued a degree as a saxophone player. She switched her major to international studies with the intention of working in international aid in West Africa, however upon graduation found a career in the software and I.T. sector where she worked for four years. Now a second-year counseling and student personnel psychology (CSPP) student, Hannah is excited to finally be on her path to becoming a counselor or therapist.
She says it was her own winding road to find her passion that drew her to the field of career counseling and personal therapy.
“I want to normalize the student experience of not knowing what to do, or graduating in something and not using it,” Hannah says.
We sat down with Hannah and asked her a few questions about her experience as a CSPP student and what insights she’d like to share with other prospective students. Here’s what she said:
What surprised you along the way?
“I was surprised at the amount of emotional energy it takes to be a counselor. I knew what I was getting into, but my expectations weren’t prepared for the amount of personal reflection and growth I would be doing. Overall, I’ve experienced a lot of emotional growth.”
What’s something you’ve most enjoyed about your experience?
“I was ready to be back in school and learning, after taking 4 years off in between my undergrad and master’s. I came in with the expectation to be a sponge and take in everything. It’s been so exciting and exhilarating to learn more about the field of psychology and counseling.”
How would you describe the student experience and what does that mean to you?
“In CEHD as a whole, I’ve been impressed with the opportunities for engagement. Every day, there’s a different talk or seminar going on and it feels like there’s a spirit of engagement and learning. Sometimes I think I signed up for a little too much. I’m working three jobs and go to school full time.”
How have your professors helped you along the way?
“All three of my professors in the CSPP program have gone above and beyond their role. It seems like they take a vested interest in my growth as an individual and professional. I work with Dr. Ohrtman doing clinical placements and she is communicative and dedicated to connecting, networking, and helping me professionally. My adviser, Dr. Howard, helped me with the emotional journey transitioning from work and adjusting to a graduate program. She also suggested that my practicum be with Student Counseling Services, which has challenged me to grow outside my comfort zone. Lastly, Dr. Berger has been always accessible and an excellent advocate to better the program.”
What would you like prospective students to know?
“Grad school is tough. Also, it’s incredibly worthwhile. I’ve been challenged to grow as a person and define my values and what I stand for. In the counseling program, I appreciate the advocacy element. It’s not just having these values, but the responsibility to take action. You have to be prepared to do emotional work and self reflection. As a result, you will grow as an individual and come into your own.”
How has your cohort helped you along the way?
“My cohort has been so helpful and important to me. There’s 35 of us, but we have a strong bond because we are all going through the process of discovering ourselves and the profession together. We all came in with different experiences, and it’s helpful to have people to lean on when things get tough and to normalize the experience.”
What are you looking forward to with graduation?
“Having a job that I look forward to going to and getting paid for something I love doing, is what I’m most excited for. I’m ready to use what I’ve learned and put it into practice. It’s great to feel like I’ve arrived at what feels like my ‘calling’ after 27 years of wondering what I was meant to do as a professional.”
This post was originally written by Ciara Metzger.
Turner’s research will lay the groundwork for future studies and help uncover best practices for providing Native Americans with experiences, support, and encouragement to pursue engineering and consider faculty roles.
During the “Small Talk” led by Think Small president and CEO, Barbara Yates, McConnell defined the word gap. He shared that research around the word gap began in the early 90s with a study by Betty Hart and Todd Risley. The two University of Kansas researchers wanted to find out why students from low-income families continued to lag behind students from wealthy families later in school despite best efforts to make preschool more accessible for all children. Hart and Risley, McConnell explained, found a significant difference in the total number of words spoken to children of rich and poor families by the age of three. In fact by age four, children in professional families had heard almost 45 million words on average, while children in families who were on welfare had heard an average of only 13 million words.
McConnell went on to discuss how Hart and Risley’s work is continuing through new technologies. He described one technology he is helping implement and evaluate—LENA Start, a parent education program for parents and family child care providers in the Twin Cities. Families using the LENA system, have their children wear vests which, according to McConnell, act as “word pedometers.” These vests automatically monitor the quantity of words and conversations in a young children’s language environment. Parents and childcare providers regularly review the vests’ measurements, encouraging parents to talk to their children more.
Think Small panelists, Dianne Haulcy, senior vice president for family engagement, and Gerri Fisher, parent engagement coordinator, shared Think Small’s focus on helping childcare providers increase parent engagement which led them to work with McConnell and LENA Start. Finally, both women shared their positive experiences using the LENA system to work with parents and students and close the word gap.
On June 8, 2017 counselors working in both rural and urban areas across Minnesota attended a half-day workshop, where they were presented with current data that support the need for greater attention to college and career readiness. Drs. Carolyn Berger and Jennifer Kunze provided examples of programs and resources for doing this valuable work.
Another highlight of the workshop was for attendees to participate in the group dialogue to learn how Minnesota schools are promoting college and career readiness.
Survey data collected from workshop participants indicated that counselors are not finding high quality learning opportunities in their regions related to this topic and thus the department will strive to take the lead for future workshops in this area.
On June 20 and 21, roughly 500 of Minnesota’s education leaders, researchers, policy makers, and nonprofit organizations gathered at Educational Equity in Action II. This was the second convening hosted by the University of Minnesota. Its focus: improving educational equity by “Working across schools and communities to enhance social emotional learning.”
Dr. Martin Brokenleg, Co-author of the book Reclaiming Youth at Risk: Our Hope for the Future and co-developer of the Circle of Courage model,explained that trauma from oppression, like that experienced by the American Indian community, can span generations.
“Our culture is plagued by intergenerational trauma,” said Brokenleg, whose mother’s family was among those imprisoned at Fort Snelling. He cited the incredibly high suicide rate among Native people, especially in the 18-30 age group, and among people in Ireland and Scotland after generations of oppression by the British, whose methods not coincidentally were adopted by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. “We’ve had a normal human reaction to an abnormal history.”
Brokenleg described his Circle of Courage model which supports character building or “teaching the heart” through generosity, belonging, independence, and mastery. Brokenleg finished his talk with practical strategies from Circle of Courage attendees could take back to their schools and communities to help young people—especially those suffering from intergenerational trauma—learn and grow.
Dr. Michael Rodriguez, professor of educational psychology at the University of Minnesota, Jim and Carmen Campbell Leadership Chair in Education and Human Development, and co-director of the Educational Equity Resource Center and the covening, led a plenary discussion on the results of the Minnesota Student Survey (MSS).
Rodriguez explained, although at a high-level the MSS tells a positive story about the developmental skills and supports of Minnesota youth, a closer look at the data demonstrates the reality of the inequities some students experience in Minnesota’s education system. This is particularly apparent for students identifying as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB); students who skip school; students who receive disciplinary action in school; and students who have experienced trauma.
“Ninety-nine percent of our youth say their goal is to graduate from high school—and 65 to 85 percent across demographic groups also want to go to college,” said Rodriguez. “That’s a lot higher than our state’s high school graduation goal for them, which is now about 90 percent by 2020!”
He emphasized that students’ own goals are higher than those we’ve set as a state.
Following the plenary, students in Rodriguez’s Minnesota Youth Development Research Group (MYDRG) led detailed discussions on the MSS results for some of these groups, including: American Indian students, Hmong students, students in special education, LGB students, and students experiencing trauma.
Throughout the convening, participants selected from 28 smaller group breakout sessions on social-emotional learning led by University of Minnesota researchers, youth engagement groups, school districts, the Minneapolis Department of Education, and more. Several sessions included youth as presenters and/or focused on youth participatory action research projects.
Small group discussions
Before the final keynote, attendees participated in a process called TRIZ. They met in small groups—dividing themselves up based on the different developmental skills and supports students need to be successful (identified in Rodriguez’s work). Participants started with the unusual task of listing actions communities might take to destroy the skill being discussed in youth. Then, they shared opportunities they had to remove some of these destructive activities and developed action plans for their schools, communities, and organizations.
Dr. Muhammad Khalifa, associate professor in Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development, closed out the convening by challenging the group to practice culturally responsive school leadership (CRSL). He asked that school leaders promote schooling that addresses the specific cultural and learning needs of students by focusing on the perspectives of parents, students, and community members.
“Change in schools can be promoted and fostered by ‘leaders,’ but culturally responsive school leadership is practiced by all stakeholders,” said Khalifa. “Community-based based knowledge informs good leadership practice.”
In this statement, Khalifa connected his keynote to Rodriguez’ and Brokenleg’s work. Each of the speakers stressed the importance of listening to all members of our community to improve educational equity.
Khalifa ended his talk by sharing strategies to help attendees to achieve CRSL in their own schools, organizations, and communities.
The Diversity in Psychology Program is designed for individuals who are historically under-represented in psychology graduate programs and who are interested in learning about graduate training in psychology, child psychology, and educational/school psychology at the University of Minnesota.
The program will feature a coordinated set of formal and informal experiences designed to familiarize participants with strategies for constructing successful graduate school applications, and to provide them with the opportunity to learn more about the experience of graduate education in UMN psychology departments.
To be eligible to apply, individuals must:
be enrolled in a college or university as a junior or senior, or who have graduated within the last two years (i.e., 2015 or thereafter). Individuals currently enrolled in a terminal masters-level graduate program in psychology are also eligible.
identify as a member of groups underrepresented in graduate training in psychology, including ethnic and racial minority groups, low-income backgrounds, persons with disability, LGBTQ+, military veterans, and first-generation college students or graduates.
Individuals must also meet one of the following criteria:
be committed to pursuing doctoral training in either child psychology or educational/school psychology. OR
be committed to pursuing doctoral training in psychology in one of the following programs of research offered by the Department of Psychology: clinical science and psychopathology; counseling psychology; cognitive and brain sciences; industrial/organizational psychology; personality, individual differences, and behavior genetics; quantitative psychology/psychometric methods; or social psychology.
On May 9th, CSPP held a networking event for students, alumni, and supervisors at Shamrocks in St. Paul. Over 70 people joined to meet one another and build relationships with fellow members of the CSPP program. Alumni from across the metro area, with careers in the counseling field as mental health therapists, school counselors, and higher education counselors, were in attendance. It presented students with the opportunity to make meaningful connections with supervisors and alumni. Dr. Marguerite Ohrtman hosted the event.