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A closer look at MU research: Discovery science at the cellular level

Posted on 26 April 2011 by Melanie Pawlyszyn

Marquette professors honored for their research

Four Marquette University professors were recognized for their ongoing research on Monday, March 7 at the annual Distinguished Scholars Reception. Dr. Rosemary Stuart, a professor of biological sciences received the Lawrence G. Haggerty Award for Research Excellence. Dr. SuJean Choi, an assistant professor of biomedical sciences, and Dr. Martin St. Maurice, an assistant professor of biological sciences, both received the Young Scholar Award. Dr. Sebastian Luft, an associate professor of philosophy received the Way Klingler Fellowship Award.

Dr. Rosemary Stuart

Yeast. When you hear this word, what first comes to mind? Beer? Brewing? Fermentation?

Yes, yeast can carry out fermentation, the process used in making alcohol, but it can also be used in biological research at the cellular level.

Rosemary Stuart, Ph.D., a professor of biological sciences, has been using yeast cells in her lab in the Wehr Life Sciences building with graduate and undergraduate students since she came to Marquette in 1999.

With her soft Irish accent, Stuart began explaining and simplifying science that could take a lifetime to understand: “We are made of hundreds of thousands of millions of cells…”

Each of these cells has a mitochondria, its powerhouse, that makes energy, also known as ATP. The process in which energy is created in the mitochondria is called oxidative phosphorylation. This process requires a number of enzymes to work together in a specific way.

“An enzyme is a protein molecule in the cell,” Stuart said. “Basically it’s a catalyst – acts to speed up a reaction, how fast a reaction can go from start to finish.”

Stuart’s lab studies how enzymes are assembled in the mitochondria, how they function and are regulated, and how they work with proteins to create ATP.

“There are many diseases that exist that are known to have their primary defect in mitochondrial function,” she said. “And, so, if the energy production is not optimal, then the muscles, for example, won’t be getting enough ATP. So there’re many neuromuscular diseases that are about, cardiac diseases that have primary defects in the mitochondria, many different diseases.”

One of the proteins Stuart looks at is called the ADP-ATP transporter. This protein is involved with a disease called ADPEO, which affects eye muscles. A defect in ATP production causes muscle dysfunction that leads to droopy eyelids and eyeballs that cannot move left and right.

“Many patients that have this disease will have a primary defect in this transporter protein,” Stuart said.

In this case, and in with all her research, Stuart uses yeast cells to replicate the cell’s mutation as a model for the disease.

“We can look at mitochondrial mutants, so in other words, cells that are defective in ATP production in yeast, because they’re still viable,” Stuart said.

Dr. SuJean Choi

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a 2007-2008 survey showed an estimated 34.2 percent of U.S. adults aged 20 years and over are overweight (BMI 25-29.9), 33.8 percent are obese (BMI > or = 30) and 5.7 percent are extremely obese (BMI > OR = 40).

Evolutionarily, fat stores in the body were important energy sources for survival. When people confronted famine, periods of fasting or could not get to the mastodon right away, they could always turn to their fat stores to get calories in a small amount of time and space.

Unfortunately, our instincts to eat foods with high amounts of fat, sugar and calories have stuck with us over the centuries. In a culture where food is inexpensive, calorically dense and easily accessible, obesity has become a huge problem and can lead to many negative consequences. These include hypertension, risk of heart attack, stroke, atherosclerosis (clogging of the arteries) and most importantly, type II diabetes, where the body cannot regulate its own blood sugar.

Why do we eat so much? How does the brain tell us when to eat and when not to eat? What allows the brain to supersede signals that tell us to stop?

These are questions that SuJean Choi, Ph.D., an assistant professor of biomedical sciences, has been trying to answer since she was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California – San Francisco twelve to thirteen years ago. She joined the faculty at Marquette in October of 2007 and now works with two technicians, a graduate student, a postdoctoral fellow and six undergraduate students in her lab in the Schroeder Complex.

Choi said: “The goal that I have for my research is I hope it contributes down the road to two things: understanding how the brain works, just adding to the basic knowledge that we have, and two, enabling others to sort of design better approaches, design better means and drugs to address issues like eating disorders and obesity.”

Research Projects

Choi’s lab is working on two main projects. The first looks at commonly used appetite suppressants called SSRIs, or Serotonin Specific Reuptake Inhibitors. These drugs improve and increase the amount of serotonin in the brain, a neurotransmitter that causes a decrease in appetite.

SSRIs curb people’s appetites at first, but they start to lose their effects after three to six months, Choi said. This is obviously a problem because it takes an obese person more than three to six months to lose significant amounts of weight.

Choi said she sees this happening to rats in her lab at a much quicker rate. After injecting little shots of the SSRI into rats’ brains, the rats do not want to eat anything. About five days later, the drug becomes ineffective and the rats look just like the control rats that were not drugged.

Her lab observes which genes are expressed and not expressed during this whole process. Choi is working to understand the brain signals that lead to eating disorders, obesity or other metabolic disorders that keep energy off balance. Finding these answers could help scientists design effective weight loss treatments.

“We’re trying to understand how the brain receives information from the body,” Choi said. “How does it know how much fat, how much protein you have in your muscles and your fat stores? How does it know what’s out there? And what does it do when it gets those signals, and how does it curb your appetite?”

The second project in Choi’s lab looks at PACAP, a protein that plays a role in feeding. Scientists do not yet know what that role is. The protein is located in the feeding area of the hypothalamus, a little region in the brain that controls housekeeping functions, like feeding drive, sex drive, thirst, sleep and wake cycles and heat regulation.

“We started giving animals PACAP, and we find that when we give it to them, they shed a lot of weight,” Choi said. “They stop eating right away, and their temperature goes up, so they’re burning a lot of calories. And they tend to be very active, so they’re showing locomotive behavior. We can measure all these things.”

Dr. Martin St. Maurice

Martin St. Maurice, Ph.D., an assistant professor of biological sciences in the Wehr Life Sciences building, studies how proteins function to carry out chemical reactions that are essential for our survival.

He has been working on this research since he came to Marquette in September of 2008. St. Maurice currently works with two graduate students, one Ph.D. research scientist and four undergraduate students in the lab. He worked on similar research as a postdoctoral fellow at UW-Madison one to two years prior to coming to Marquette.

Research Projects

Imagine a car assembly line, where parts are systematically assembled to create functional vehicles. If DNA is like a car’s blueprint, the car is a protein. DNA is the hereditary information of life that gives proteins instructions for all chemical reactions in the body. When all the parts of the car are assembled properly, the car can go out on the road to drive. And like cars, proteins come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from smart cars to hummers.

“Simply from the way there’re folded up, there is an inherent, very specific function to them,” said St. Maurice. “Every protein, based on the way it is encoded, the instructions for its synthesis, is different and unique in the way that it’s folded, in the way that its molecules are oriented to catalyze a particular reaction or to carry out a specific task.”

In order to find out how proteins work together to carry out those tasks, structural biologists like St. Maurice must make pictures of the proteins.

A reel of film runs at about 24 frames per second. That means that a 2-hour movie has about 200,000 frames. You cannot possibly understand the story from any one single frame that shows only a snippet of action from the whole.

This is how pictures of proteins in the lab work too. And the more structurally complicated the protein, the more frames that are needed to tell the story. The question is, ‘How many pictures does it take to tell it? Dozens? Hundreds? Thousands?’

“Most of the time, these proteins are black boxes,” St. Maurice said. “We have no idea how they are structured. And since we have no idea how they’re structured, we have a difficult time understanding the intricacies of how they work. So the minute you get a photo of something, you all of a sudden have vastly improved insights into how something works.”

St. Maurice uses a technique called X-ray crystallography to take pictures of proteins. In this process, he grows protein crystals and uses a machine called an X-ray diffractometer to shoot X-ray beams at them. From there, he works to find the structure of the proteins. The entire process takes over a year if things go well, he said.

One of the proteins that St. Maurice is looking at has a critical role in the release of insulin in the pancreas in response to elevated glucose levels. So it keeps blood sugar levels from getting too high. This same protein is also important for making glucose in the liver and kidneys when blood sugar is too low.

Understanding the structural information in the protein can help show how this process works, though it is difficult to pinpoint change, St. Maurice said.

St. Maurice said: “One of applied goals of research is to try to understand to hope to someday to be able to manipulate the system a little bit. Maybe this enzyme is a reasonable target for people who are suffering from type II diabetes.” Scientists have not looked at this protein too much in the past, he said.

Working in a Lab – Struggles and Strides

Research discoveries involve a combination of hard work, intelligence, skill and even a little bit of luck. Scientists are constantly building a body of knowledge, interpreting results and asking more and more questions along the way. They need much patience to tackle questions that develop over a lifetime.

Stuart said lab work can get frustrating at times. “You’re opening one door and then you find out there’s many more there. So you’re answering one question, but through the course of answering that question, you’ve actually opened up some more questions that you then go on and pursue,” she said.

Choi said: “The hardest part in the lab is just keeping that in mind that, you know, for every ten failures, we get one success, and that’s how all the science labs work. It’s just always a little saddening when you come across that, but you gotta kind of keep marching on. Eventually, you have some really cool result, and it just makes your day.”

Collecting new information and asking questions is how discovery science evolves. In fact, Stuart said the reason she ended up studying certain enzymes came by surprise.

“We hadn’t planned on studying it,” said Stuart, “but we had one or two observations that kind of drew us in that direction and the pieces of the puzzle all fit together. And it’s like ‘Ah!’ you have that eureka moment, ‘This must be what’s going on!’”

St. Maurice said the thrill of discovery motivates him and drives his research forward.

“I think it’s true that in research 90 percent of the time things fail,” he said. “It sort of feels a little bit like you’re constantly beating your head against the wall. And it hurts after a while, right? But it’s worth it for that five to 10 percent of the time when something does work and suddenly you’re seeing something that nobody else has ever seen before.”

Teacher-Scholar Model

Unique from other university professors, all Marquette professors of biological sciences follow a teacher-scholar model that allows them to conduct research along with teaching undergraduate and graduate classes. This is what attracted Choi, Stuart and St. Maurice to this university.

Professors encourage as many undergraduate students as possible to get involved with their labs and do independent research, Stuart said. St. Maurice pointed out that at least one undergraduate student works in each lab on campus.

“You can learn so much from a textbook,” said Stuart, “but actually coming in as a biology major and working in somebody’s lab and generating data, analyzing the data and discovering something new teaches you so much that you’re not going to get from a textbook… We have the best of both worlds.”

Equally or even more rewarding than the feeling of discovery, said Choi, Stuart and St. Maurice, is seeing the same kind of excitement in the students working in their labs.

“It’s unparallel, the excitement feel that you get when something works for the first time,” said Stuart, “but also just the fun you have of mentoring and working together alongside young people and mentoring them and guiding them and seeing them have fun discovering is wonderful.”

Choi said: “One of my favorite kinds of experiences is that when I see that in my students, when they get excited and see that all that hard work and all those little failures that we went through, that, all of a sudden, they’re kind of jumping up and down, and saying, ‘That’s really cool.’”

Helping students become independent in their research is rewarding, St. Maurice said. “To feel like you’ve been able to have some small part in their experience and their adventures is pretty awesome,” he said. “It’s a great part of the job.”

St. Maurice said: “I think Marquette both fosters and attracts teacher scholars who… are interested in their scholarship and it’s what brought them to this point in their careers, but they’re also very interested in sharing that with students. To be able to share that thrill is really important, I think, to a lot of people here.”

Bringing Science Home

Running laboratory research is an around-the-clock effort that constantly changes. As scientists find new information, many new questions arise. Scientists must keep their brains on overtime to keep up with the exciting, quick flow of new information, hypotheses, methodologies and interpretations. This includes keeping up with the findings of other scientific research to shed light on their own.

Research is a lifetime endeavor. So when do scientists find time to live normal, sociable lives?  How do they cope with constantly processing new information?

Choi said she likes to keep her science and home lives completely separate. The self-described “crazy Frisbee lady” plays ultimate Frisbee with the Milwaukee Ultimate Club city league.

“I usually try to get the Valley Fields during the summer,” said Choi, “and I try to organize a pick-up, so anybody can come and play down there during the summer, and so I get half my faculty department to come down there, and I get a lot of our students. And it’s almost a requirement to be in my lab that you have to play ultimate.”

Stuart said there are days when she goes home and constantly thinks about her lab work. She likes to read scientific literature especially when she is eager to find out what a result from the lab might mean. She said when she relaxes at home, for example: “I’m not really watching TV, although I’m thinking I’m watching TV.”

To release her mind from the constant wheels of scientific thought, Stuart likes to take walks, a lot of walks. She also enjoys photographing nature with her Canon 40D.

St. Maurice said having a job that is flexible and free has its advantages and disadvantages. “You don’t have to ever turn off,” he said. “You’re always thinking about what’s going on [and] worried about what’s not working.”

For fun, he plays the fiddle with a community orchestra once a week. He said, “It’s remarkable that while I’m in those rehearsals for three and a half hours, I don’t think for a second think about everything that’s going on in the lab.”

by Melanie Pawlyszyn
[email protected]

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Pabst Brewery plans development after decades of stasis

Posted on 14 April 2011 by Anna Ceragioli


When walking around Marquette’s campus, you may have noticed the maroon rotating sign on the northeast side of I-43. “The Brewery” is written on one side of this sign and “A Joseph Zilber Historic Development” on the other. Joseph Zilber’s name is certainly known across the Marquette campus. In 2007, one year before the philanthropist died at age 92, Zilber donated $30 million to the Marquette University Law School. But just a few blocks from campus, at the site of the former Pabst Brewery, Zilber’s vision of improving Milwaukee continues to flourish.

Months before his death, Joseph Zilber said that the new construction project of the Brewery would be his “legacy to Milwaukee.” He also stated, “The Pabst will be something that you’ll be proud of, I’ll be proud of, the city will be proud of.”

Of the Pabst Brewery’s 28 original buildings, 10 were torn down and 18 survived years of abandonment. Many of the remaining buildings have already been redeveloped into functioning spaces, including apartments, office space, a parking garage and the tavern and history center Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery. Six buildings are for sale and are all the subjects of great purchasing interest by several parties.

Dan McCarthy, vice president at Brewery Project LLC., says, “When everything is said and done the, goal is, as was Joe Zilber’s wish…that [the Brewery] area of town be restored to its potential as a neighborhood that is viable and sustainable.”


From 1844 to 1996, the Pabst Brewery was a source of employment, economy and pride in Milwaukee. Its history began when the Best family emigrated from Germany to Milwaukee. Originally wine makers, the Best family eventually started a brewing company in downtown Milwaukee known as “the little tavern on the hill.” As business began looking grim in the 1860s, Jacob Best’s son-in-law, Captain Frederick Pabst, became part of the Pabst team, and two years later, its president.  By 1874, the “little tavern on the hill” had grown into America’s largest brewery.

Business again began to look grim in the later half of the 20th century. The brewery’s close in December of 1996 was so abrupt that many employees left behind pictures, uniforms and even lunches in their lockers. All 21 acres of land sat stagnantly behind chain link.

Jim Haertel, proprietor of Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery, a tavern and history center, said: “It was a ghost town. Seven city blocks, 28 buildings, almost 2 million square feet of space…not using one kilowatt.”

After a decade of failed attempts to rejuvenate the area, Joseph Zilber purchased the abandoned site in 2006 with plans to “create a new neighborhood that will rank with other great neighborhoods in Milwaukee.”


Work, Play and Educate

Those involved in Zilber’s Brewery development describe the project in three words: “work, play, educate.” McCarthy describes these objectives as “classic elements of any great urban community.” Haertel suggests that two other objectives of the developments are “live and park.”

The connection between the “work, play, educate” model and the dream of creating a truly great community are clear in the current developments and proposed developments of the Brewery site.


The former Boiler House now holds 50,000 square feet of office space, which is about 75 percent occupied and 25 percent vacant.

The former Shipping Center is a much looked at building for possible renovation. Two potential uses of these warehouses are offices for the federal government or offices for the Astronautics Corporation.


The former Brewhouse Millhouse, a 34,400 square foot, four story building on the “T” side of the iconic “PABST” sign, has several interested buyers. There are tentative suggestions for a 90-room, all suites hotel on the top three floors. The Hofbrauhaus, which already has a popular Milwaukee location at 1009 N. Old World Third Street, has announced plans to purchase the first floor of the building. Construction is expected to begin in about 60 days and to be completed for the summer of 2012.


The former Research Lab on North Tenth Street and West Winnebago Street was purchased by Cardinal Stritch University, who moved portions of their School of Education and Leadership into this 30,000 square feet area of office space.

The Manufacturing and Cold Storage Building on North Ninth Street and West Juneau Avenue, erected in 1918, is soon to be the UWM School of Public Health. The five story, 32,440 square foot building will be Wisconsin’s first school of public health and will house citizens of Milwaukee’s Department of Health. Construction will begin in June and the facility will officially open for the fall 2012 school year.


The former Keg House, one of the first projects, was extensively renovated to restore the Cream City brick exterior and convert the high-ceilinged interior into a series of apartments. In January of 2010, the Keg House opened as the Blue Ribbon Lofts, a 95 apartment complex that was fully rented out within the first month of being open.

Gorman Company, Inc., the company that renovated the Blue Ribbon Lofts, is also interested in converting the site of a demolished building on North Ninth Street and West Winnebago Street  into a Common Bond Community, a Minneapolis-based senior living company. The goal is to begin work on the 55 unit senior apartment building within the year.


In 2009, an eight story, 880 parking structure was erected on North Ninth Street and West Juneau Avenue. The first floor of this building holds 9,000 square feet of retail space that is currently for sale.

Also erected near the Cardinal Strich offices is Zilber Park, a small, minimalistic park that is the first step of plans to beautify the area. Especially in the early stages of development when many buildings are dirty stacks rising from weedy gravel, such small steps as a tree-studded park hold great aesthetic power.

Another building for sale is the former First German Methodist Church built in 1873 and later converted into the Forst Keller restaurant, which was especially popular amongst the Marquette community. The 3,020 square foot space is a source of interest to many parties and could be converted into anything from offices to an entertainment venue.

Marquette and Milwaukee;  Past and Progress

Marquette & Milwaukee

The progress occurring at the Pabst is not done without recognition of the Brewery’s proximity to Marquette. Specifically, developers recognize the notable distance of retailers from Marquette’s campus and plan on adding retail space to offer a more accessible option for the students.

When asked about connections between Marquette and the Zilber Historic Development project, Brewery Project LLC. vice presidents Dan McCarthy and Mike Mervis gave a “big scoop.”

“We are growing gradually optimistic that over the next couple of years, there will be a series of discussions between Marquette University, Aurora Sinai Health Partners and the Brewery over how to best use and connect these areas…to serve constituents of all three entities,” McCarthy said.

The very foundation of the brewery project is optimism of rejuvenating a once-prosperous area, serving the community and turning the shadows of the past into progress.

“The Pabst…we think it’s like the Third Ward or Old World Third Street,” Haertel said. “When Old World Third Street first started developing, people said, ‘Nobody’s gonna go across the river to Third Street.’  Today, people might say, ‘Eighth and 11th?  No one will go.’ But lots of people are already coming. This place will become big like them.”

The Pabst Brewery bridges the Marquette community and the central city to downtown Milwaukee, but that bridge was chained off for ten years. The developers in the Pabst area believe that by redeveloping the Brewery, this important bridge between Milwaukee communities will not only be restored, but become a catalyst for optimism and improvement in Milwaukee. As Haertel puts it, “A city is only as strong as its weakest link.”

Karen Haertel, wife of Jim Haertel and partner of Best Place at the Pabst, explained: “What’s happening at the Brewery is important to the Milwaukee community because what’s being created is a place of community. This is for people who need communal environments…so, everyone.”

Past & Present

In his book on the history of Milwaukee, Jerry Apps stated, “Wisconsin is virtually a brewery graveyard.” After its settlement in 1785, Milwaukee progressed into America’s beer capital. But the Civil War, Prohibition and economic turmoil of the later 20th century ended the business of most breweries.

The Pabst Brewery did not just spit out profits and smoke; it housed a business that helped shape the history and core identity of Milwaukee. Its buildings were not just factory stacks, but constructed with pride. In October of 1857, the Milwaukee Sentinel (now the Journal Sentinel) wrote of the then-newly constructed Mill House:

“The building is a fine looking one, and were it not for a life-sized figure of a sturdy Teuton which is perched on the top, in the act of sipping a glass of lager, one would never suspect its being a brewery.”

The developers of the Pabst Brewery respect the beauty and history of the brewery. They are cleaning the grime from the buildings so that the Cream City brick can shine. The Pabst logos and artwork remain in the buildings, the stained-glass windows are unbroken, the newly constructed buildings bear historic pictures of the brewery, and in the developing Brewhouse Millhouse, six massive copper kegs remain intact on the second floor despite the great profit that could have been made from merely melting down and selling the copper.

In particular, the history of the Pabst is represented by Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery, whose first floor was once the guest center to visitors and upper stories once housed the company’s corporate offices. While the upper floors are still under development, the two bars, two courtyards, great hall and gift shop are open and functioning. In addition to hosting patrons in the evenings and Pabst History Tours at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Fridays through Sundays, Best Place has become a popular location for private parties and weddings.

Although progress can often mean destruction, the developments of the Pabst Brewery are unique in their balance of progress and preservation. The developers understand that Pabst’s 1844-1996 run is 125 years of history in a city settled 226 years ago. They understand that the total loss of this brewery is a price that Milwaukee cannot and should not have to pay. With Joseph Zilber’s goal to give Milwaukee a neighborhood to be proud of, developers’ goals to represent the needs of a variety of citizens, and the Milwaukee community’s pride in their brewery history, an abandoned brewery is slowly morphing into a living, breathing community. We are in the exciting position to see this metamorphosis and, hopefully, be able to play a part in its growth.

by Anna Ceragioli
[email protected]

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Boom in studying abroad shows necessity in today’s global market

Posted on 03 February 2011 by Melanie Pawlyszyn

A Marquette student browses through study abroad destinations in books at the study abroad fair in the Alumni Memorial Union.

A Marquette student browses through study abroad destinations in books at the study abroad fair in the Alumni Memorial Union.

Gina Crovetti, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences, studied abroad during both semesters of her junior year at the John Felice Rome Center, an American University located two and half miles from Vatican City.
While finishing her Marquette University core curriculum credits abroad, Crovetti had an internship working in the library of one of Rome’s largest museums, Capitoline, where she categorized American books by hand using the Dewey Decimal System.
“My boss barely spoke English,” she said. “No one in the office spoke English. It was my first internship ever.”

Like Crovetti, a surge of thousands of American students have been exiting their comfort zones and expanding their horizons abroad. According to college advisors and company employers, studying abroad is a necessary step in gaining a global perspective in order to survive in today’s global market.

The Institute of International Education stated in its 2010 Open Doors Report, an annual census of international students in the United States, that “260,327 U.S. students studied abroad for academic credit in 2008-2009. U.S. student participation in study abroad has more than doubled over the past decade.”

The study stated that “nontraditional destinations are increasing in popularity – 14 of the top 25 destinations are outside of Europe and 19 out of 25 are destinations where English is not a primary language.”

According to Mindy Schroeder, one of three student abroad coordinators in Marquette University’s Office of International Education (OIE) located on the fourth floor of the Alumni Memorial Union, the most recently published statistic of the number of study abroad students from the 2008- 2009 academic year (including summer 2009) was 458 students, or 22 percent of the Marquette University graduating class that year. This is the largest percentage of Marquette students to study abroad. In past years, the percentage steadily increased with 19 percent in the 2006-2007 academic year and 21 percent in the 2007-2008 academic year, Schroeder said.

Schroder said the increase is due to greater accessibility to study abroad programs. In the last year, Marquette has added an extensive pallet of Marquette-affiliated programs in which students can pay tuition through bursar in CheckMarq, she said.

This also means that students can now apply Marquette University financial aid to many study abroad programs. Schroeder said that over 80 percent of students use Marquette aid to study abroad.

Overall, the most popular country for Marquette students to study is Italy, she said, taking into account all short-term, semester and yearlong programs. Spain and Belgium are also at the top of the list.

Many universities like Goucher College in Baltimore even made studying abroad mandatory, The Record newspaper of Hackensack, N.J., reported in its May 7, 2010, issue in an article titled “Colleges offering more options to study abroad.”

Students at Goucher College choose to study for a semester, year or three-week Intensive Course Abroad, according to The Record. Each student receives a voucher of a minimum of $1,200 to alleviate travel expenses.

Soka University of America in southern California requires all of its students to participate in a block of study abroad and an international internship during their junior year, according to Students receive academic credit equivalent to four courses.

According to The Record, many universities are now offering study abroad options to freshmen students. “Florida State University’s First Year Abroad program sends students to London, Florence, Valencia or Panama city for 12 months,” the newspaper wrote.

The article gave more examples: “Freshmen entering The College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University who are interested in the arts, humanities, international studies and social sciences can begin their studies in Italy. Freshman in [New York University’s] Liberal Studies program can complete their first-year degree requirements in London, Paris or Florence.”

Senior Gina Crovetti thinks studying abroad should be required at Marquette. “I think it’s just pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, out of what’s normal,” she said. “You have no idea what you can do unless you’re thrown into certain situations sometimes because there’re some people who will cling to dear life to things that are comfortable.”

She continued: “You need to get out of your usual routine. You have to because you realize things about yourself that you had no idea you could do.”

A Global Perspective

Discovering yourself and gaining confidence and independence aren’t the only benefits to studying abroad.

Maggie Krochalk, graduate assistant in the OIE, studied abroad in Poland for one semester as an undergraduate senior at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. She said there are many practical skills – like speaking a foreign language – students acquire while studying abroad.

Similarly, Susan Whipple, an assistant director in the OIE, studied abroad in Paris during her sophomore undergraduate year at the State University of New York at New Paltz, located midway between Albany, N.Y., and New York City. This was her first exposure to the French language, and because of her experience abroad, Whipple speaks French fluently to this day.

“When I studied abroad I was challenged to grow and learn about myself,” she said. “I came back a wiser, more thoughtful person with a better understanding of myself, my country and my culture. I learned how to navigate cities and countries where I didn’t speak the language and to view situations from different perspectives.”

Whipple said she was amazed by the multicultural diversity and international foods she experienced in Paris. During her experience, she was able to travel to countries around Europe and experience those cultures as well.

“It was interesting to see the many different cultures that were there,” she said. “It was the first time I ate Vietnamese food [and] the first time I ate Arabic food. The people I was living with, they had been in Morocco. They had lived in South Africa. They had lived in Barbados. They had lived in New York.”

Job Market Advantage

Krochalk and Whipple both agreed that there are many benefits to studying abroad, especially as the marketplace becomes more global.

In the Nov. 8, 2010, issue of the New York Times, journalist David Brooks wrote that “the U.S. is well situated to be the crossroads nation. It is well situated to be the center of global networks and to nurture the right kinds of networks.” Among a list of ways for America to thicken global connections, Brooks included making “study abroad a rite of passage for college students.”

OIE graduate assistant Krochalk said students benefit most from studying abroad by gaining global perspectives.

“Employers here [in Milwaukee] and in the United States are looking for people with global perspectives,” Krochalk said. “More companies are looking for people who understand other cultures because they deal with other countries, and there’s more diversity in our culture here. And I think [studying abroad] kind of helps a person to think more broadly.”

Whipple explained how studying abroad can help students find jobs in the future: “Students who study abroad can distinguish themselves from other job applicants by demonstrating the language and cultural skills they have acquired as well as through the problem solving skills they have earned abroad. Students who have studied abroad need to explain what they gained and how it can help the organization. They can’t simply assume that the prospective employer understands or appreciates what was learned during the program.”

The Record newspaper from Hackensack, N.J., wrote: “Though the recession has forced many colleges to cut back on study-abroad budgets, the opportunity to live and study in a foreign country is seen by students and parents as not just a fun part of college but necessary preparation for working in a global economy.”

Fernando Figueredo, chairman of the Department of Advertising and Public Relations at Florida International University, said in the Feb. 3, 2010, issue of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Sun Sentinel: “It’s important for students to have this global education in their resume. Companies now highlight, and pretty much require, a global education and international experience.”

With all of this emphasis on the necessity of studying abroad during college, some students think they may have a financial disadvantage that translates into a less impressive resume for prospective employers.

Yes, studying abroad can be quite expensive, with tuitions as high as Marquette’s ($30,040 for the 2010-2011 school year) and additional expenses for purchasing a passport, housing and transportation.

Both Marquette study abroad programs and externally approved programs range in price from $800 to $30,000, according to the OIE’s study abroad website.

Surprisingly, many Marquette students are paying equal to Marquette’s tuition or even less by studying through cheaper programs, living with a host family from that country or purchasing housing through another university.

When senior Gina Crovetti studied in Rome through a program of Loyola University Chicago at the John Felice Rome Center, she said she paid less for her entire study abroad experience than she would have paid if she stayed in Milwaukee. She said she paid Marquette’s tuition for the program but Loyola Chicago’s cheaper room and board.

This may not be the case for other students. Prices vary widely from program to program. Regardless of cost, where there is a will, there is a way. Studying abroad may seem like a financial obstacle at first, but students find that it is still feasible, and crucial.

According to the Kalamazoo (MI) Gazette in its Feb., 6, 2010 issue: “We need to get to know the people around us. Our world has expanded from neighborhoods to nations, and our acquaintances now extend from counties to countries.”

Institute of International Education- 2010 Open Doors Report

Top ten countries where American students study, with each corresponding number of students during the 2008-2009 school year:

(1) United Kingdom- 31,342 students
(2) Italy- 27,362 students
(3) Spain- 24,169 students
(4) France- 16,910 students
(5) China- 13,674 students
(6) Australia- 11,140 students
(7) Germany- 8,330 students
(8) Mexico- 7,320 students
(9) Ireland- 6,858 students
(10) Costa Rica- 6,363 students

by Melanie Pawlyszyn
[email protected]

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Marquette students with disabilities: Stories underneath the surface

Posted on 08 December 2010 by Melanie Pawlyszyn


Webster“It kind of gets frustrating when people assume that I can’t do something because of my disability, like that I’m not intelligent or that I can’t be on TV and tell people the news or have my own talk show because people won’t watch me.” – Shannon Webster 

When they announced her name for the 2009 homecoming court, two things were going through her mind: “Don’t fall and don’t cry.” The crowd chanted “Shannon! Shannon!” while she went up on stage to accept her crown. She felt that her peers accepted her for her true self. She felt honored.

This homecoming queen is Marquette freshman Shannon Webster, a broadcast major with high aspirations of becoming a public broadcast figure. She currently volunteers as an anchor for Marquette University Television, inspired by one of her greatest idols, Oprah.

You may not have been able to guess these things about Webster by simply looking at her, but if you spotted her on the campus sidewalk riding her segway, you could tell one thing for certain: she has a disability.

Webster, 18, was born with mild cerebral palsy with spastic dysphasia, a disability that affects body movement and muscle coordination. She has worn ankles braces and braces going up to her knees on both her legs her entire life. Webster said she is able to walk no further than a block before feeling pain and fatigue.

She utilized a wheelchair until her sophomore year at Naperville Central High School in Naperville, Ill., 45 minutes southwest of Chicago, when her school received a grant to purchase a segway as part of a program called Adapted PE for students with disabilities.

“Ever since then I loved riding a segway,” Webster said. “I just love being eye level with people because when you are in a wheelchair, people look down upon you, obviously physically, but also mentally without realizing that they’re doing it. And so, being in a segway, people don’t look at me because I’m disabled, but they look at me in the eye, and they look at me as a person, not just my disability.”

Coming to Marquette

Four months ago, Webster’s parents bought her a segway for about $6,000. According to Heidi Vering, the coordinator of the Office of Disabilities Services (ODS), she is the first Marquette student to ride around campus on a segway.

Most freshmen students need a week or two to get oriented with Marquette’s campus and get in the flow of walking to classes. Besides these adjustments, Webster said that finding all the disabilities entrances to her classroom buildings was a challenge.

Her segway may reach speeds of 15 to 20 mph by leaning in whichever direction she wants to go, but Webster said she has to plan how much time it will take to get to each class based on the sidewalk traffic and locations of disabilities entrances.

Webster said that when she anchors for MUTV in Johnston Hall, the Department of Public Safety drops her off at the hall’s entrance. Johnston’s lack of handicap entrances poses an obstacle for her.

According to Heidi Vering from the ODS, ramp entrances and automatic doors are scheduled to be built in Johnston Hall by next semester. This is good news for the fewer than ten disabled Marquette students in wheelchairs, and Webster, who will have most of her classes in the hall next semester.

“Life is a process,” she said.

Webster said she is used to asking questions everywhere she goes to clarify her situation and what accommodations she needs.

“I fly. I’ve taken the bus in Milwaukee. They have a ramp,” she said. “It’s all about asking questions and making sure you’re guaranteed whatever handicapped access I need, whether it’s a railing or a ramp or anything like that before I go anywhere. People are accommodating as long as I ask.”

Finding strength through physical obstacles

Throughout her life journey with cerebral palsy, Webster has had five major surgeries.

She had her first serious surgery when she was only five years old, going into kindergarten. Her hipbone popped out of its socket, and if she did not surgically put it back in place with plates and pins, she would not be able to walk today.

One year later, she had a second surgery to remove the pins in her hip and also get her hamstring and Achilles tendon lengthened.

At age 11, Webster had foot reconstructive surgery, where doctors inserted a cadaver bone on the outside of her foot to realign her foot and leg. Her Achilles tendon was also lengthened a second time. At age 13, her hamstrings were lengthened.

She had a foot reconstructive surgery with more cadaver bone at age 17, where doctors also cut the tendon around her ankle and lengthened her Achilles tendon a third time.

Webster said that these surgeries changed her perspective on what is most important in life. “It doesn’t define who I am as a person, but it definitely has added to my character and made me a stronger person,” she said.

She said she has also found strength through her supportive family and friends.

“Thank God God graced me with two wonderful parents,” Webster said. “My mom is my absolute best friend, and she has been like my right hand through all of this, so without her I wouldn’t be able to do any of this.”

Her faith in God has also carried her through hard times. “I go to church a lot, and I find grace and peace through God,” she said.

She said that despite being raised in a Catholic family, her faith was strengthened to what it is now during her sophomore year in high school when she went on a healing pilgrimage to Lourdes, France, through the Order of Malta, a Roman Catholic order based in Rome.

It is said that in 1858, St. Bernadette saw the Marian apparition of Our Lady of Lourdes. Hundreds of millions of people from around the world have visited Lourdes in hopes of receiving a miracle healing from the holy spring water from its grotto.

Webster said that she had compassion for the people she met at the shrine. She said she realized that “everyone has their own story” and appreciated what the people taught her there.

In early November, Webster visited Holy Hill, a national Marian shrine 30 minutes from Marquette.

“I’m like a Mary follower now,” she said. “I want to go to all the Mary sites.”

Dealing with discrimination

Webster said that though people do not look down upon her – physically and mentally – because she rides a segway instead of a wheelchair, many people are still intimidated to come up to her and ask questions.

“I really haven’t had a lot of discrimination [at Marquette] – some here and there and stares, and you know, things you can’t really avoid, but I’d rather people ask questions than stare at me and wonder,” Webster said. “It’s better to ask. I just don’t like being seen as this intimidating person because I’m so not an intimidating person.”

She continued: “I’d rather you come up and talk to me than wish you would have and keep staring at me. I’d rather just like let it go because that’s not what defines me as a person. It just adds to my life, in a positive way.”

Riding a segway instead of a wheelchair gave Webster the confidence boost to accept her disability and feel more comfortable speaking openly about it.

“The segway for me let me let go of my inhibitions … and be who I really am,” she said. “I am disabled, and I’m not afraid to like show that to people because obviously I was born this way for it to be seen and not for it to be covered up.”

Webster tries to lead as normal a life as possible. In high school she was on a swim team and now sometimes goes swimming in Rec Plex in Straz Tower.

“I’m not really afraid to try new things and to see how it goes. And if I fall down I fall down. I fall down almost every day, and people think it’s like the worst thing in the world, but to me, you just get right back up and brush your knees off a little bit, and you’re ready to go.”

As a broadcast major, Webster said she dreams of having her own television show. She said that people from back home in Illinois think that her disability limits her capabilities.

“I have a lot of people from where I live that are supportive of me, but they kind of think that my dream is too big, like that I want to be the next Oprah is like too big of a feat,” she said. “And for me, nothing’s too big. I’d rather go for it and then fail than not try at all.”

Webster said Oprah is her greatest inspiration along with Mary to keep fighting. “I fight not just for me, but for all the disabled people around the world,” she said.

She said she hopes to become a public figure for people with disabilities to inspire them to follow their dreams and not allow their disabilities to limit them.

She advised those with disabilities: “It’s not a disability; rather, it’s a different ability that can help you with your life and add to your life, and it makes you different in a way that’s special from anyone else.”





The accident happened on April 23, 2010, the day before prom. A driver who was under the influence rear-ended her car at 50 mph at 4:30 p.m. in Franklin, Wis. Severe whiplash with no airbags came to one inevitable end: a concussion and four hours in the emergency room. She doesn’t even remember her prom.

The diagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder two weeks later only extended the depressive symptoms from her bipolar disorder.

Freshman Meghann Rosenwald was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder in her junior year of high school at age 17 going on 18. She was genetically predisposed to the disability.

Of the two types of bipolar disorders, bipolar type II is less severe. People with bipolar II disorder experience symptoms of hypomania, a lesser form of mania, and depression. Rosenwald said that she experiences depressive symptoms about three quarters of the time and manic symptoms about one quarter of the time.

Rosenwald explained an example she learned from her psychology lecture: “On the depressive level, people have catastrophic thoughts, which means, they go to the extremes, like, ‘Oh my gosh, that person looked at me weird. They hate me,’ or ‘Oh my gosh, I got a really bad grade on my test. My teacher’s gonna hate me.”

On the flip side, she explained what a manic episode feels like: “It’s like giving somebody Amp, Mountain Dew, Monster, all this caffeine, and then people go and do really impulsive things.” She continued: “You don’t sleep, you’re really impulsive, you spend a lot of money, you can’t get anything done because you can’t focus to save your life.”

Rosenwald said she once had a severe manic episode that lasted three months during which she bought $900 worth of makeup.

To help cope with the bipolar symptoms, Rosenwald said she has to remember to take the correct dosages of five different medications daily, including 900 milligrams of lithium.

Rosenwald said the lithium works in the correct dosage, but five weeks ago, a discrepancy of .3 milligrams began to put stress on her kidneys, turned her blood levels toxic and caused her to become very sick.

On top of keeping up with her medication schedule, Rosenwald uses the therapeutic resources offered at Marquette.

In addition, she takes six classes at Marquette, including three science classes – chemistry, psychology and biology – for her clinical lab science major.

Coping is difficult, she said, but her boyfriend of one and half years, family and best friend help her get through it all. The Office of Disabilities Services also plays a key role in helping to alleviate the pressures of school by proctoring her exams and working with her English teacher for paper deadline extensions.

In addition, Rosenwald has a few very close and supportive friends from Marquette and back home.

She said she goes home to Hales Corners, Wis., each weekend to visit her three younger sisters, Rachel, 10, Amanda, 13, and Katie, 15, and her Lassa Maltese mutt named Oliver.

At Marquette, Rosenwald finds support through MU’s chapter of Active Minds, a group of thirty students with similar problems who meet monthly and run events grounded in “changing the conversation about mental health,” the organization’s slogan.

“Through campus-wide events and national programs, Active Minds aims to remove the stigma that surrounds mental health issues, and create a comfortable environment for an open conversation about mental health issues on campuses through North America,” the organization’s website states.

This is the third year Active Minds has been at Marquette. Rosenwald said that to her, the group is “a place for people to feel accepted” and “a safe haven.”

She explained: “Active Minds isn’t just a place of support, it’s a group of amazing and proactive people who have been affected by mental illness and just want to change that conversation. These are some of the greatest people I’ve ever had the chance to meet.”

The group held its second annual Suicide Awareness Walk on Friday, Nov. 19, where about forty people attended the walk around campus and memorial at St. Joan of Arc Chapel. Participants made luminaries made of lit candles in bags in remembrance of each of their loved ones who passed away.

Along with participating in Active Minds events, Rosenwald said she enjoys doing community service through her church, including a mission trip to Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota three years ago and food drives around the holidays.

Bipolar disorder may make life difficult often times, but it doesn’t stop her from enjoying life. Rosenwald began Tae Kwon Do in fifth grade and has been a second degree black belt since her senior year in high school. At Marquette, she takes yoga classes and attends meditation sessions, and in her spare time, she enjoys reading anything and everything, including the Harry Potter series. On the weekends, she works as a server at a local grill.

“I just always say, you gotta have your support system, and you got to just take care of yourself,” she said.

Rosenwald said she wishes that people would be more understanding of her disability and other mental illnesses. One in four people have a mental illness, according to Active Minds.

She explained: “Diabetes, you can take insulin. Bipolar disorder, look at all my medications that I have to take to maintain everything. I mean, bipolar and diabetes can pretty much be on the same playing field, but it’s just people don’t realize it because it’s invisible. Everybody thinks that bipolar disorder is more of a weakness.”

Bipolar disorder is not a weakness of character, but a medical condition. Rosenwald continued: “I am someone with bipolar disorder, but that doesn’t define who I am. It adds to a few personality quirks, but it does not define a person.”


Fast Facts on MU Students With Disabilities… Did you Know…

  • There are two types of disabilities: visible and invisible
  • Two-thirds of MU students with disabilities have learning or attention disabilities
  • Other disabilities that MU students have are hearing impaired, low vision, medical, physical and psychiatric
  • Number of MU students with disabilities: 300
  • Number of MU students with disabilities who actively receive accommodations with the Office of Disabilities Services (ODS) each semester: 200
  • If a student who rides a wheelchair enrolls in a class located in an inaccessible building, Marquette changes the classroom
  • Common accommodations that the ODS provides students are extra time and/or a private room for test-taking and notetakers – 150 randomly selected students hired to take class notes for students with disabilities
  • MU resources for students with disabilities: ODS in Marquette Hall, Center for Psychological Services (CPS) in Cramer Hall, MU Counseling Center in Holthusen Hall and Office of Student Educational Services in the AMU

[This information was acquired in an interview with Heidi Vering, coordinator of the Office of Disability Services]

by Melanie Pawlyszyn
[email protected]

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Jump Around!

Posted on 10 November 2010 by WarriorAdmin

Ever since his first days at Marquette University, Richard Smith, a ‘73 alumnus, has worked hard to become the successful and respected man he is today. In addition to all his post-collegiate success as a husband, father and president of one of the most prominent civil engineering firms in the country, Rick Smith has quickly become a Marquette basketball icon, known simply as “The Jump Around Guy.”

At Marquette

After graduating from Marquette University High School in 1968, Smith reluctantly decided to attend Marquette University despite having a number of concerns, not the least of which was that he would have to stay in-state and close to home.

Despite early fears of “missing out on the college experience,” Smith’s attitude soon changed. “As I started to get ingrained into the MU culture, I found it very rewarding. I loved Marquette.” Smith found the philosophy and expression of Cura Personalis particularly rewarding: “They really became a partner with you.”

Smith compared his Marquette experience favorably to the college experience of his public-schooled friends. He opined that at public institutions you are only seen as a number.

Smith majored in civil engineering and graduated in 1973. He then went on to graduate school at Marquette, where he obtained a Masters Degree in Science and Environmental Engineering in 1982.

Smith asserts that his Catholic education has made him the man he is today. “Religion is a big part of my life. Private education in grade school, high school, and Marquette University provided me with strong beliefs that I’ve carried through into my business – to give back to the community and school, and to be compassionate and fair in my work.”

He would also grow a deeper connection with his future wife at Marquette. They had known each other in high school but not very well. She had gone to Pius XI High School in Milwaukee, while he went to Marquette University High School. It was at Marquette together that they really began to know each other. After both of their collegiate careers, they were married at Gesu in 1974.
In 1978 Smith founded R.A. Smith & Associates, Inc., where it soon began to grow. Now R.A. Smith National, Smith’s company specializes in everything civil engineering, including surveying, planning, and landscaping architecture to name a few.

His firm works in both the private and public sectors all across the country, where they have been involved in a number of high profile construction projects like the Marquette Interchange, as well as private companies including Walmart, Target and Cabela’s.

The Warrior controversy

Like many Marquette alumni, Smith was very irritated about the change of the school’s moniker from The Warriors to the Golden Eagles. He still flies a Warrior flag outside of R.A. Smith National during the basketball season. If the team wins, he flies it at full-mast. If the team loses, he flies it at full-mast. If the team plays very poorly, he flies it at half-mast upside-down. But Smith takes the symbol very seriously. On one occasion, the flag was stolen in the middle of the night. So he put a lock on the flagstaff so no one could take it down.

He was also among the alumni who wanted to get a group together to boycott the games and no longer donate money to the school because of the change of the school’s logo. To this day he still cannot comprehend the university’s decision.

Smith has no particular attachment to the Native American mascot either: “We could have a gladiator! That’s a warrior, isn’t it?” He does not find the “warrior” name offensive. If that’s offensive, what would that say of the Notre Dame “Fighting Irish”? That would simply represent the Irish as a bunch of “drunken, fighting jerks.”

Being the Jump-Around Guy

For more than 40 years, Smith has been a Marquette basketball fanatic, and has had season tickets for 38 years. One of the highlights for Smith over the past four decades was being able to see Al McGuire coach.

“I was very fortunate to be involved at Marquette University during a period when Al McGuire was there. He was an unbelievable coach.” Smith went on to describe Marquette’s winning of the National Championship under McGuire as “the best sports experience I’ve ever had.”

It was during the ’07-’08 basketball season that the title of Mr. Richard A. Smith, M.S., P.E. would forever change in the minds of thousands of Marquette basketball fans. Smith became affectionately known as “The Jump Around Guy.”

Four years ago, Smith was attending a MU basketball game with his wife and friends when he noticed the Marquette student section. “There’s a huge difference between the students and the rest of the fans. [Students] go wild and put on a show in itself, in addition to the basketball game.”

It was then that the song Jump Around, by House of Pain, began to play, and the entire student section began to jump and down and clap to the music. Seeing this, Smith asked his friends why no one other than the students gets up to jump to the song. In response to his friends’ replies of “Why don’t you?” Smith got up – dressed in a suit for work– and began to “jump around.”

Smith says that almost instantly the cameras were on him showing him jumping, much to the delight of the rest of those in attendance, especially the students. Being a middle-aged man in a suit, along with being the only person in the Bradley Center besides the students jumping up and down, he was easily distinguishable from the crowd.

Channel surfing on the east coast, Smith’s son happened to turn on the ESPN covered game, and to his surprise saw his father jumping solo on national television. It turned out that Smith’s son was not the only one watching the game, and two local television stations featured Smith jumping.

At the next home game, Smith believed that his jumping days were behind him as a fun, one-time event. But as the second half came, and Jump Around started up, the camera went to Smith. The students stared and pointed demandingly, willing him to once again “jump around.” The rest is history, and Smith now jumps almost every home game, every time the song is played.

The Legend

Smith often receives frequent shout outs by Marquette basketball fans everywhere, even at his church, St. Mary’s in Elm Grove, Wisconsin. Children, parents and fans alike give kind words of praise.

Smith enjoys his title as “The Jump Around Guy.” “I don’t mind it. It’s a lot of fun. If I can make someone’s experience a little better, I’d be happy to do it.” His wife enjoys it as well. In the past he would try to get her to jump alongside him. On one occasion she did. He claims that everyone loved her more than him!

Wherever they go, people see her and ask about “the jumping guy.” This summer at the Wisconsin State Fair, Mr. Smith was walking out of the washroom when he saw his wife surrounded by a group of guys asking about him!

Even Marquette’s newest freshmen know who he is. Before the first game of the season had started, word had filtered through to them. Jon Harrington, a freshman in the college of Business, said that his RA or some upperclassman told him about the “Jump Around Guy.” Tommy

Garbacz, a freshman in the college of Engineering, saw him on Youtube. Freshman in the college of Arts and Sciences Brian Kane heard about Smith from his friends. It seems Smith’s fame will never stop growing.

by Mike Szatkowski
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Haunted at Marquette: an investigation into the paranormal

Posted on 31 October 2010 by Melanie Pawlyszyn

“All right! You, sir! How about a shave? Come and visit your good friend Sweeney! You sir, too sir? Welcome to the grave! I will have vengeance – I will have salvation! Who sir? You sir? No one in the chair, come on! Come on! Sweeney’s waiting! I want you bleeders.”

No, this is not the same Sweeney you know from Sweeney’s College Books, but Sweeney Todd. This Demon Barber of Fleet Street played by Johnny Depp in Tim Burton’s 2007 film, notoriously gave his customer’s “the cleanest shave they’ve ever seen” – slitting their throats, sending them down a shoot to his basement and cooking their bodies into meat pies.

This is obviously not a situation we would encounter in our everyday lives, but when leaves on campus start turning red, orange and yellow, and Halloween is just around the corner, we start to think of the things that really scare us.

Marquette University may not have a Demon Barber of Wisconsin Avenue, but in many of its dormitories, buildings, apartments and neighboring buildings linger restless spirits of souls that remained on earth. Witnesses and legends give us stories of their hauntings.

Many people think that seeing is believing, but maybe after hearing these stories, you’ll think twice before walking alone on campus at night.

Humphrey Hall

The student apartments at Humphrey Hall at the corner of    Wisconsin Avenue and 17th Street was the Milwaukee Children’s Hospital until 1988.

The hall’s lobby remains virtually the same, and that same level used to contain the hospital’s kitchen and morgue. The kitchen was renovated in 1989 and became Sodexo’s bakery, where all of the Brews’ pastries and bagels are made.

According to Rick Arcuri, the associate dean for administration in the Office of Residence Life, Sodexo’s renovated kitchen is only in the area of the old hospital kitchen. Later on, he said, Sodexo decided to use the old autopsy and embalming room to store baking racks. To this day, imprints on the floor designate the former locations of the autopsy and embalming table and fridge where dead bodies were stored.

Children who died in the old hospital are said to haunt the building, according to legend and resident accounts.

One angry ghost, a young girl in a white hospital gown who died in the hospital, is rumored to haunt the elevators at night.

Mary Zuidema, a graduate student in the College of Education and resident of Humphrey Hall, said, “If you’re riding on the elevator supposedly at midnight and later by yourself, she’ll shut the elevator down and look you deep in the eyes with her bloodshot eyes very creepily.”

“The only thing I’ve really experienced (on the elevator) is sometimes at Humphrey on the sixth floor after midnight, there’s like a really weird feeling right on the elevator if you’re by yourself,” Zuidema said. “There’s a bell ringing right when you are either getting on or getting off the elevator onto the sixth floor.”

Zuidema also said electronics will unexplainably turn on and off in her room on the second floor and her microwave will stop working.

Residents have reported hearing laughing, crying, screaming and singing as well as seeing the ghosts of children.

In addition to the ghost inside the building, desk receptionists at Humphrey Hall have heard and seen children on security cameras playing at the back exit where there used to be a play area. The Department of Public Safety would come to check it out and find no one there.

Straz Tower

Straz Tower was formerly East Hall and a YMCA. Back then, a little boy named Petey drowned in the Rec Plex pool, located in the building’s lower level, and haunts the pool area and locker rooms to this day.

Nicknamed “Whispering Willie,” the boy likes to swim next to patrons in the pool when they are alone.

Patrons and Plex employees have witnessed doors opening and closing, unrolling toilet paper in empty stalls and most famously, a whispering voice saying their names or mocking what they say.

Recreation facilities building supervisor Nicole Schneider, 22, said that Willie greets her every time she opens up the Rec Plex alone at 5 a.m.

Even though the pool area is dark and scary in the morning, Schneider said, she likes to mess with Willie. She walks in and says, “‘Good morning Willieee!’ And if the pool chemicals are off, the water will be boiling a little and you’ll talk to him and there’ll be waves in the pool… The pool bubbles a little.”

Schneider said her friend’s sister was swimming alone once in the Plex pool and heard someone whisper her name. She stopped and looked around, but no one was there. When she started to swim, she heard the whispering voice say her name again.

Johnston Hall

Johnston Hall, the first building erected on campus, is home to a few different ghosts.

In the early 1960s, two Jesuit priests allegedly committed suicide by jumping off the fifth floor balcony. They now haunt the building’s top floor and the old elevator that will be replaced by a new elevator January 2011.

Witnesses of these ghosts get an eerie feeling when alone on the fifth floor, in the elevator or in the stairwell. Some said the area would dramatically change temperatures. Some have even heard unexplainable footsteps and voices.

The old elevator installed in 1938, witnesses said, rattles while ascending, opens when elevator buttons are not pushed, skips over floors where it should have opened and frequently breaks down.

Legend says that a Native American man haunts the building’s basement, where The Marquette Tribune and Marquette Radio offices are located. The spirit is said to be angry that Johnston Hall sits on top of land that was once a burial ground for the Mascountens tribe. Witnesses of the ghost have experienced extreme cold and seen pale blue light.

Cobeen Hall

Cobeen Hall’s friendly ghost is said to be an art critic who pulls down posters off dormitory walls of residents he does not like.

Sophomore Carly Kroll said her friend who lived in Cobeen last year would find her Twilight posters ripped off the wall every morning when she awoke. Strangely, all of her other non-Twilight posters remained attached to the wall.

Senior Nicole Schneider said that when she lived in Cobeen, she would hear water dripping randomly during the day and night and hear noises from the bathroom.

Schneider said her colleague, Liz Miller, who used to live in Cobeen, would go home each weekend and return to find all of her posters ripped down. Her roommate would stack up the pictures on her desk every week.

Carpenter Tower

Carpenter Tower dormitory used to be a hotel in the 1950s. Legend says that a boy of around seven or eight years was killed in a fire years ago. Stories say the boy can be seen looking out a top floor window of the building or heard calling for help to people on the street below.

Varsity Theater

Stories say that a projector operator was smoking a cigarette during a break and accidentally fell into a huge metal ventilation fan in a hallway off the balcony. His clothes got caught in the rotating fan, and he was sliced into pieces. Janitors in the past reported receiving help from the young man’s ghost, who completed forgotten tasks, such as locking doors and turning off lights.

Helfaer Theater

Helfaer Theater is said to be haunted by a former artistic director who died in studio 13, a strangely inauspicious number. Witnesses have seen his apparition in the studio.


Marquette’s campus has quite a few old haunted buildings, but few people know that several buildings near the university are also haunted.

The Rave / Eagles Club

The Rave and Eagles Club was built in 1926 as an all male athletic club. A men’s shelter took up residence for a while in the basement after the athletic club closed. The building has been a concert hall since 1980.

Online sources say that haunting witnesses have experienced an overwhelming coldness, a strong odor of starch or bleach, a strong sense of negative energy, shuffling feet and loud bangs.

The pool room in the basement and The Eagles Ballroom are said to be the most haunted rooms in the building.

A Rave employee ostensibly heard laughter of a young girl coming from the rear hallway and upon feeling a gust of wind blow through the room, was filled with dread.

There have been reports of someone throwing things off the roof. Security guards investigated the scene and found no one there. They did however find empty beer cups and ashtrays on the ground below.

There are numerous stories circling deaths and witnessed apparitions at The Rave and Eagles Club. Despite this, a woman at the box office neither confirmed nor denied its truth. “We don’t associate ourselves with haunting,” she said.

The Pfister Hotel

Charles Pfister, a smiling, portly man who has been seen wandering the hallways of the third floor with his dog, looking to see that hotel guests are enjoying their stay, haunts the Pfister Hotel, located at Wisconsin Avenue and North Jefferson Street.

A Pfister Hotel concierge who has worked at the hotel for twelve years said: “The hotel is 117 years old. And my own personally feeling is that I wouldn’t be surprised (if) there’s some sort of energy left over after all those years because we have a great number of VIPs here. We had every president here since McKinley.”

All the visiting baseball and basketball teams stay at the Pfister, the concierge said. Last year, members of the Florida Marlins baseball team said they had some ghostly experiences while rooming at the Pfister.

“One of the players claimed that something spooky had happened in his room and that he had left his room in the middle of the night and spent the night sleeping in our lobby lounge in his boxer shorts,” the concierge said. “I can tell ya, nobody spent the night in their boxer shorts in our lobby lounge. Our security guards would have bounced them out immediately.”

The concierge said that an older baseball player may have been hazing a younger player by banging on the walls and pretending to be Charles Pfister.

He said: “The coach for the Marlins did a press release one day saying, well, he had never encountered a ghost at the Pfister, but he said, ‘I’m sure if I did it would be a friendly ghost because everybody at the Pfister is very friendly.”

“The people who actually see it, they believe it without question,” the concierge said. “Those of us who haven’t seen it, we have trouble believing it.”


Sources of Marquette legend information in this article are Ghosts of the Prairie (, Haunted Places in Wisconsin ( and Marquette Magazine.

Melanie Pawlyszyn
[email protected]

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Pilarz exudes pillars of Marquette’s Jesuit mission

Posted on 05 October 2010 by Melanie Pawlyszyn

Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J.“The first time I met [Pilarz] was through student government,” said Will Grogan, a senior and senator on the student government at Scranton. “I remember seeing this big, epic person. And then to hear the way he can come down to earth and was very interested in what we had to say, in that case, to the student government, was really comforting that he’s on board. I mean, he lives in the dorms. He’s very much gonna want to be part of your community.”


He was elected to Marquette’s Board of Trustees in September 2009. In March, he came to Marquette to help the board along with 300 faculty, staff, students, alumni, parents and members of the Jesuit community to discuss characteristics of an ideal president. In its May meeting, the board developed a Presidential Profile describing the ideal candidate.

Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., the president of the University of Scranton since 2003, fit the mold.

On Tuesday, Aug. 31, he was named 23rd president of Marquette University, succeeding Rev. Robert A. Wild, S.J., Marquette’s president for the last 15 years.

Moving up from leading about 5,500 undergraduate and graduate students at Scranton to about 11,000 at Marquette, Pilarz must use his presidential, teaching and Jesuit experience to lead this institution at a new level.


Pilarz, 51, started his scholastic career at Georgetown University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in English. He then went on to Fordham University and earned a master’s degree in philosophy. From there he went to the Weston School Theology, Cambridge, Mass., where he earned a master’s degrees in divinity and theology.

He earned a Ph.D. in English at the City University of New York, where his dissertation, Sacerdotal Self-Fashioning: Priesthood in the Poetry of Robert Southwell, S.J., and John Donne, won the 1997 CUNY Alumni Achievement Prize for Dissertation Excellence.

Pilarz became a lecturer in the English department of St. Joseph’s University in 1994, and in 1996, he joined the Georgetown faculty as an assistant professor of English, where he taught for six years. He was appointed interim University Chaplain in 2002.

The graduating class of 1999 chose to award him with the Edward B. Bunn, S.J., Award for Faculty Excellence.

Since his becoming 24th president of Scranton in 2003, Pilarz, a scholar in medieval and Renaissance literature, has taught one class each semester.

Grogan, who was in his class called “Playing God: Theatrical Expressions of Divinity, a course that added a Jesuit perspective to theater, said Pilarz taught by prompting questions to stimulate “free-flowing conversation.”

“There was a lot of different people [in class]… because people just wanted to have him. He has an excellent reputation around [Scranton] for teaching, and he was just very excited to be there,” Grogan said.

Pilarz also taught a class called “Renaissance Poetry and Prose.”


Pilarz’ interest in the Jesuit teaching and ideology began in an introductory theology class at Georgetown University where he met and befriended “his first Jesuit,” Rev. Otto Hentz.

His parents once thought he might become a veterinarian or enter law school, but Pilarz had other ideas. He kept his thoughts of entering the priesthood to himself for a while because he was afraid of what his friends would think, according to the Journal Sentinel.

Rev. Pilarz took a leap of faith when he joined the Society of Jesus in 1982.

“It was kind of an impulse thing at the time,” he said. “I thought I’d give this a shot and I did… And it felt right all the way along.”

One night, on the back patio at his family’s home in Voorhees, N.J., Pilarz told his father, “‘Dad, I want to enter the Jesuits.’” His father supported him and the rest is history.

Along his journey as a Jesuit priest, Pilarz’ faith has helped him lead Scranton through some semi-tumultuous times of conflict.

One instance specifically dealt with the diocese of Scranton Bishop Joseph C. Bambera, who engaged Pilarz in a dialogue regarding an event hosted by the university’s Inclusion Initiative, according to Scranton’s Times Leader.

Pilarz established the Inclusion Initiative in May to provide “a more inclusive environment and a better understanding of sexual orientation and gender identity,” according to its stated goals.

In a statement regarding the initiative, Pilarz wrote: “…our community has no place for discrimination or harassment on the basis of ethnicity, gender, race, religious affiliation, or sexual orientation… Both the steering committee and student group will undertake their respective missions in ways that are consistent with Catholic teaching.”

The hosted speaker, Sara Bendoraitis, a lecturer in the Department of Sociology at American University, “obviously supports positions that are contrary to the teaching of the Catholic Church,” the Times Leader stated.

Despite Bambera’s voiced concern, Pilarz stood his ground, continued to support all students in the Scranton community and worked out disagreements with the bishop.

In a statement of congratulations to Pilarz for his appointment as Marquette’s next president, Bambera recognized that he “has led the University of Scranton well and overseen not only a tremendous expansion of the institution, but most importantly from [his] perspective, has done a great deal to anchor the university community solidly in Jesuit values.”

Regarding the controversy with the bishop, Jones DeRitter, chair and professor for the English department at Scranton, said: “We [Scranton] were glad to have Father Pilarz there because he managed to find that balance point between being Catholic and being a university. And I think that’s an important thing for someone in his position to be able to do. He’s well-spoken enough to be able to manage that kind of negotiation.”


Pilarz began a journey of service in the Jesuit tradition when he was ordained a priest in 1992.

Jesuits try to follow the corporal and spiritual works of mercy in accordance with the Catholic teaching. These corporal works are all forms of physical service, instructing followers to “give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, visit and ransom captives, shelter the homeless, visit the sick and bury the dead.”

Pilarz has worked to serve university communities with this Catholic identity in mind.

Three years ago, he helped Debra Pellegrino, dean of the Panuska College of Professional Studies at Scranton, open a health clinic for uninsured Scranton residents. Starting as a weekly operation, the clinic has grown to provide care for students every day of the week.

“When a university student dies or is involved in a family tragedy, Pilarz shows up at the student’s home, offering support and comfort,” stated the Journal Sentinel.

During his time at Georgetown University, Pilarz organized numerous retreats, served on Georgetown University’s Service Committee in the Jesuit Community and discussed Jesuit education along the East Coast and Midwest through seminars, conference papers and presentations.

In 2002, the Georgetown Alumni Association awarded him with the William Gaston Award for Outstanding Service. In 2008, the Lackawanna Bar Association awarded him with the Chief Justice Michael J. Eagan Award for Dedicated Service.


During Pilarz’s presidency, Scranton achieved record admissions and undertook the largest construction project ever: a $83 million 200,000-square-foot science center expected to be completed in the fall of 2011 under the 2005-2010 Strategic Plan – Pride, Passion, Promise: Shaping Our Jesuit Tradition.

The campaign raised more than $100 million. In response to its success, its goal was raised to $125 million. This money funded the construction of a new campus center, sophomore residence hall and campus green space.

“At this point I think the class before us and our class at the very least will not have gone a year without a major construction project happening somewhere on campus,” said Grogan, “but it’s also really exciting and I know it’s been a lot for [Pilarz] to juggle.”

Despite the major growth in building infrastructure, Rita Dileo, president of Scranton’s student government, said Pilarz has had an even greater influence on building Scranton’s community.

“Everything he’s done has been directed toward students and their greatest needs,” Dileo said.

Scranton sad to let Pilarz go

Scranton students and faculty expressed surprise and sadness at the news of Pilarz leaving.

“I definitely think that there’s a sense of comfort, especially for the class of 2011, that he’s at least here for the rest of our year here,” Grogan reflected. “It’s kind of like he’s graduating with us in a sense, part of our class.”

DeRitter voiced his thoughts: “I think he’s been a successful administrator here, and we’re sad to see him go… I think we would’ve been surprised if he was still here ten years after he got here, but I think that’s just because that’s our understanding of how the Jesuits move their administrators around.”

In reaction to hearing the news, Dileo said she was a little surprised. “I’m excited for him because I know this is a big move, and I know that he’s excited… We’re very legitimately happy for him, but I’m going to miss him. So it’s hard too. It’s bittersweet.”

Pilarz to bring Scranton legacy to Marquette

Rev. Robert A. Wild has had a successful run at Marquette, mobilizing campus renovations and construction of the new Eckstein, Zilber and McCabe halls. Pilarz has some big shoes to fill.

Marquette’s tuition increased $1,360 from last year, while nearly 90 percent of Marquette freshmen are receiving some form of financial aid.

According to the Marquette Tribune, “Pilarz said he wants to build Marquette’s academic reputation while also focusing on affordability and access.”

He must prioritize in further strengthening alumni relationships to help fund Marquette students’ educations with scholarships and grants.

At Scranton, Pilarz helped organize “Shamrockin’ Eve,” a big celebration the night before the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. “It brings back young alumni,” Grogan said. “[Pilarz] is very intimate making sure people are still connected to the campus even after they leave. And that’s a huge initiative that was going on right now with him in the alumni office.”

Hopefully Pilarz can bring his creative fundraising ideas to Marquette and channel his enthusiasm to better our Marquette community in ways consistent with the Jesuit mission.

“I want in part for my legacy to have a lot to do with preserving and enhancing the Catholic and Jesuit identity of Marquette,” Pilarz said.

The day after he was named the next president, Pilarz reflected upon Marquette’s future in a brief interview at Raynor Memorial Library.

“I’m stepping into an incredibly vibrant Catholic Jesuit university with incredible potential for the future, especially around the issues of access and academic excellence,” Pilarz said.

“How do we promote what Marquette is already doing so well, in terms of academic excellence?” he said. “How do we sustain that?

Pilarz must contemplate these questions as he spends the next year learning as much as he can about Marquette. 

With a reputation for building strong relationships among students, faculty and staff at Scranton, we think Pilarz will be an asset to our Marquette community and look forward to seeing him and his English bulldog, Jack, on campus.

by Melanie Pawlyszyn
[email protected]

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UPDATE: Maguire calls for Wild’s immediate resignation

Posted on 08 May 2010 by Katelyn Ferral

DSC_0318In an open letter to Father Wild and Provost Pauly today, Marquette Theology Professor Dr. Dan Maguire called on Marquette’s president to “…shoulder all the blame and make your already given notice of resignation effective immediately.” Maguire said Wild’s successor should then re-invite Dr. Jodi O’Brien to be Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Maguire said if O’Brien were to re-accept, she would “be the most warmly received dean in the history of this great university.”

In the letter, Maguire said the university’s decision to take back the offer to O’Brien was “the worst decision made at Marquette in decades” and warned that the controversy could jeopardize future College Arts and Sciences dean searches.

“…Future candidates could feel compromised for stepping in when a previous candidate was discriminated against and embarrassed,” Maguire said.  “It would seem as if they saw the treatment of Dr. O’Brien as a matter of no moment.”

Maguire’s letter comes after a student protest on Thursday drew national media attention to the decision to rescind O’Brien’s offer. The university said in a statement Thursday that the decision to take back the offer was not about O’Brien’s sexuality, which Wild affirmed during his comments at the Pere Marquette faculty dinner that night.

“I want to say it strongly, clearly and directly, what this decision is not about: it is not about sexual identity, that is important to say,” Wild said. “If we were approaching matters this way it’s not only illegal, it’s against our Catholic faith.”

According to the letter, Maguire said Wild based his decision “on an interpretation of what was or what was not compatible with Catholic teaching,” and charged Wild with failing to consult faculty experts on Catholic moral teaching.

“The Theology Department is one of the major theologates in North America, just a few yards away from your offices,” Maguire said. “You ignored them as you also ignored teachers of ethics in the Philosophy department and professors in Sociology, Dr. O’Brien’s field.”

Maguire said rescinding O’Brien’s offer will have long-term implications for Marquette, and in the letter that “much of the damage” Wild has caused, “is beyond repair.” However, he said, “…confession of sins and reparation are central to Catholic spirituality.”

The debate over the decision has raised questions of the level of academic freedom on camps, and Maguire said Saturday that limiting academic freedom would have a “chilling effect on the whole university.”

“If only conservative views—or only liberal views—on debatable matters are deemed legitimate, we cease being a university where, as Cardinal Newman said, many minds may compete freely together.”

The entire letter can be read below:

May 8, 2010

To: Robert Wild, S.J., President, Marquette University

John Pauly, Provost, Marquette University

When I came to Marquette 40 years ago I was told Marquette supported academic freedom.  I believe that and acted on that assurance and was tenured and promoted to the highest rank.  That is the Marquette I know.  That is the Marquette I respect, and that is the Marquette I have just seen demeaned and betrayed.

The decision by a handful of administrators  to break the oral contract with Dr. O’Brien  a decision that broke all the canons of collegiality, was the worst decision made at Marquette in decades.  In one act you managed to insult Dr. O’Brien, the Marquette faculty and student body, and the Jesuit Seattle University.  You based your decision on an interpretation of what was or what was not compatible with Catholic teaching.  However, you did not consult the faculty experts on Catholic moral teaching on this campus.  The Theology Department is one of the major theologates in North America, just a few yards away from your offices. You ignored them as you also ignored teachers of ethics in the Philosophy department and professors in Sociology, Dr. O’Brien’s field..

Much of the damage you caused is beyond repair and will hover over this university for years….. but not all of it. Confession of sins and reparation are central to Catholic spirituality.

A Lesson from History

A similar breach of contract occurred in 1999 when Fr. Charles Curran was invited to give the annual Pere Marquette Lecture.  When the then chair of the Theology Department learned that the invitation had been made and accepted, he contacted Dr. Curran and withdrew the invitation because of Fr. Curran’s liberal views.  The Theology Department, led by Michael Fahey, S.J., protested vigorously and Fr. Curran was re-invited.  He was gracious enough to accept.


As to the disastrous disinvitation of Dr. O’Brien: all blame may not reside with the president of Marquette, but the “buck stops” on your desk, Fr. Wild..  You should shoulder all the blame and make your already given notice of resignation effective immediately.  Your pro tem successor should then re-invite Dr. Jodi O’Brien to be Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

If she accepts, and it would be a supreme act of generosity for her to do so,  I can guarantee this: Dr. Jodi O’Brien will be the most warmly received dean in the history of this great university.

Professor Daniel C. Maguire

Theology Department

[email protected]

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BREAKING: Arts&Sciences lesbian dean candidate offer rescinded

Posted on 06 May 2010 by Katelyn Ferral

Nearly 100 students marched on the Alumni Memorial Union Thursday to protest a decision by Father Wild to rescind an offer of deanship for the College of Arts and Sciences to  Jodi O’Brien who is currently a sociology professor at Seattle University. After a two-year vetting process the Arts and Sciences search committee extended an offer to O’Brien, but took it back earlier this week after what protestors said was “pressure” from  donors and Board of Trustee members.

O’Brien was the top choice for the Arts and Sciences selection committee, who last year had to begin their search again after they did not receive enough qualified applicants. Marquette confirmed the decision to take back O’Brien’s offer through a university statement Thursday afternoon.  “This personnel decision was not about sexual orientation,” according to the statement. The university admits to “certain oversights in the search process,” and also expressed regret at the initial offer  to O’Brien. ” As a result of this search, the university will revise some aspects of the search process,” according to the statement.

Students expressed their outrage at the decision Thursday when a group of students marched down Wisconsin Avenue, then brought the protest into the rotunda in the AMU. Protest organizer and doctoral candidate in the philosophy department, Margaret Steele  addressed the crowd and said “we are here, we are committed to standing up for dignity of all persons in the community.”

After moving inside the union, protesters began shouting “shame on you,” and chanting, “we are here for education, not for your discrimination.” Student signs read “MU cannot serve both God and money,” “Academic freedom is for sale,”   “Since when is discrimination a Catholic value?” and “Fr. Wild is this your legacy?”

Students  started to dance and jump when Philosophy Professor Dr. Nancy Snow,  addressed the crowd. She read some prepared remarks and talked about her history with Marquette as a proud alumnus. Snow attended Marquette for undergraduate and graduate study and said she has had “the honor of working here.” She announced that O’Brien will “not be coming as dean,” but emphasized that Father Wild is “a good man.”

Snow circulated an e-mail Thursday afternoon encouraging students to express their disappointment with the decision, and was recieved warmly by students when she addressed her own sexuality.  “I am a proud out lesbian,” she said.  Snow said she was recently promoted to full professor in the philosophy department and joked, “I hope that offer is not rescinded.” She then read  Marquette’s statement on diversity, “Marquette seeks to become a diverse community dedicated to the promotion of justice.” She went on to say each member of the MU community is taught to celebrate differences, “this call to action is integral to the tradition we share.”

Snow went on to say O’Brien’s writings are  “unobjectionable pieces of sociological scholarship that contain vignettes of lesbian sex, that are then analyzed for the purpose of sociological study.” She said in an e-mail that she suspects detractors of O’Brien’s work to be  “donors, and that Fr. Wild fears losing their support.”

Addition excerpts from Snow’s e-mail include:

DSC_0313“Good morning, everyone. As many of you know, I’ve been involved with discussions with Fr. Wild and Dr. Pauly over the last few days regarding the possible withdrawal of the offer to Jodi O’Brien. Dr. Pauly is clearly in favor of Dr. O’Brien. Fr. Wild believes he must withdraw the contract. Apparently, much of the issue centers on concerns that she will not be able to represent the Church’s position, and will need to spend an inordinate amount of time defending herself from detractors, thereby compromising her ability to perform her duties as Dean. Much of the controversy centers on publications she wrote in the late 1990’s. I’ve read both of these (available online) and find them unobjectionable pieces of sociological scholarship that contain vignettes of lesbian sex, that are then analyzed for the purpose of sociological study.”

In an e-mail from the university sent out to Arts and Sciences faculty, admitted to offering the position to O’Brien prematurely.

“Some of the concerns identified in the process should have had more careful scrutiny. After examining the cumulative published records of the candidates, particularly as they relate to Catholic mission and identity, subsequent discussion raised issues that had not been fully addressed earlier. We did make an offer to one of the two finalists; in retrospect that was done prematurely…This decision was not based on any candidate’s personal background nor does the decision in any way challenge a faculty member’s freedom to write in his or her area of scholarly expertise.”

The e-mail affirmed that Jeanne Hossenlopp will remain the interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, until Provost John Pauly names her successor.

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Students use stimulants to get the grade

Posted on 28 April 2010 by Marissa Evans

cover piece with bottle

The NCAA finals might be over but Marquette students are preparing for their own set of finals. With papers, readings, constant studying and late nights in Raynor Memorial Library coming soon, students will be doing all they can to pass their finals and classes with flying colors. For some, that includes taking stimulants, or “performance enhancers” to study.

Typically prescribed for attention-deficit and learning disorders, stimulants like Adderall, Concerta and Ritalin are increasingly becoming the tool of choice for students looking to meet deadlines and get the best grades possible.

“I only take it when I really need to get something done, maybe the day before a paper,” said a male freshman student in the College of Business Administration, who agreed to speak to The Warrior on the condition of anonymity.

The student said this semester was the first he tried “performance enhancers” to help him study, and said he buys whatever types of stimulant pills he can from students who have prescriptions.

He said although he mainly uses the drug to study, he occasionally uses it recreationally as well.

“I know people who are way more into it than I am. I have done it recreationally, to party too, but not all the time,” he said.

While the student said he usually buys one pill at a time, around high-stress times of the year, like midterms or finals, the demand for pills goes up—and so do prices.

“Normally the price (for a pill) is about three or four dollars, but around midterms or finals, they’ll jack up the price and it’ll be about eight.” Despite price increases around peak test times, the student said he considers the transaction a good deal.

“It’s really pretty cheap,” he said. “If I can crank out a whole night of homework for four, six, or eight bucks, it’s totally worth it for me.” The student said he has taken one or more stimulant pills seven times this semester and estimates he has spent more than 50 dollars on the drugs.

While the student said the use of performance enhancers is widespread at Marquette, he doesn’t consider the abuse of drugs like Adderall, Ritalin or Concerta academically dishonest.

“No one is talking about it, but it seems anybody can get a prescription,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a problem;  academically dishonest, no. If people want it, they can get it.”

Stimulants used by students to study such as Adderall are in the amphetamines family, while others such as Concerta, and Ritalin are in the ethylphenidate family. Both groups are known for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Adderall is typically prescribed to children and adults who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is seen as a stimulant for the brain by controlling impulses and regulating behavior and attention. It influences the availability of neurotransmitters in the brain, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Classified by the FDA as a Schedule II drug due to its high potential for abuse and severe psychological or physical dependency, it is still currently accepted for medical use. The Schedule II drug category consists of opium, cocaine, methadone, amphetamines, and methamphetamines.

Abuse among students who do have a prescription for drugs like Adderall and Concerta does exist, and often involves a student manipulating the prescription in order to deal to those without one. One underclassman male student in the College of Communication who requested anonymity said he routinely re-fills his Concerta prescription for his Dyslexia and ADHD so he can sell his pills non-prescribed students.

“I don’t think of it as a big deal,” he said. “People know I have the resources to get it.” The student said he often checks up with customers to see how well the stimulant worked and has between ten and fifteen freshman friends and clients. Students who approach him for pills often have “the voice in their head that tells them to get something done, ‘or else,’’ he said. “(They think) this medicine can help me get it all done.”

He said he has also seen some purchase Concerta because “they like how they feel when they’re on it” especially when taken at parties.

Although “performance enhancers” like Concerta do not improve intelligence, the student said it does, “enhance your drive to get it all done.”

During times where he has taken the pill to study, he has experienced a loss of appetite, is unsociable, very focused and quiet. He advises students who buy from him to take the drug to study and while they are taking the test as well.

“It’s an association thing,” he said. Studying with stimulants does occur at Marquette and continues to be a growing trend with college students across the country.The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), in an April 2009 report found of the 28,027 full-time college students between the ages of 18 and 22 surveyed they were twice as likely to use the amphetamine drug Adderall without prescription as those who had not been in college at all or were only part-time students. In 2008, the study found that full-time college students who had used Adderall non medically “were almost three times more likely to use marijuana, eight times more likely to use cocaine, eight times more likely to use tranquilizers non medically, and five times more likely to use pain relievers non medically.”

Although many students do not think using of stimulants to study is illegal, if students are caught, there are legal penalties.

“We get involved when it comes to finding people in possession of a controlled substance without a prescription,” said Officer Richard Lopez of the Milwaukee Police Department. According to Lopez, arrests and criminal charges for possession are the big things when it comes to non-prescribed drugs. According to Wisconsin state laws, those convicted of simple possession can receive a sentence under state law of drug treatment rather than jail time, and probation may be available to first-time offenders for more serious offenses. In addition, for Wisconsin, possessors can be fined between $1000 and $10,000, with the average jail time being between six months to three and a half years. There is also a mandatory driver’s license suspension for a minimum of six months and a maximum of five years for all drug offenses.

In addition to legal ramifications of abusing the pills, there are also some severe health ones as well. The FDA finds that non-prescribed, illegal use of Adderall can result in “rapid heartbeat palpitations, increased blood pressure, restlessness, insomnia, seizures, depression, headache and stroke,” with long term affects including liver problems and addiction. Students, who use Adderall without a prescription, may need to take central nervous system depressants such as pain relievers or tranquilizers to counteract the stimulant effects of Adderall.

Prolonged levels of a high attention span that occur when stimulants are taken repeatedly can
result in a ‘speed crash’. A speed crash, in medical terms follows the high level of energy originally felt, and leaves the person feeling nauseous, irritable, depressed or extremely exhausted. The FDA has found that those who take the drug for actual medical purposes have fewer side effects.

In addition, the NSDUH, found that nearly 90 percent of non-presciption full-time college students who used Adderall in the past month were also binge alcohol users.

Bucket of Pills

More than half were heavy alcohol users. A 23-year- old female graduate student at Marquette who also agreed to speak to The Warrior on the condition of anonymity, said many students in her program also use performance enhancing drugs like Adderall. While she said she does not use the drug, the students she knows who take it do not have a prescription.. Usually using it the night before an exam, students who use them tell her their ability to study and retain information is increased.

“A normal person can study for five hours and absorb a certain amount of material, but if you’re on Adderall and study those same five hours, it’s the most intense five hours of your life…it just gives you that edge, that intense ability to concentrate for more extended periods of time.”

With academic programs where students are ranked creating a particularly competitive situation many students feel the need to do whatever they need to do to get the best grades possible to get the highest rank.

“It’s not that people are proud of it, they just do what they need to do to get the grade,” said the student.

by Marissa Evans and Katelyn Ferral
marissa [email protected]

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