Points of Pride

Col. Porter: First Psychologist to Command an Army Health Care Facility

Posted on Fri, Apr 10, 2015

By Marianne McCarthy

col porter

Rebecca Porter entered military service for much the same reason many young people did in the 70s—to help pay for their education.

“As it turned out I was not eligible for a scholarship because I had really bad eyes. But I was already enrolled, and I liked it, and so I stuck with it,” said Porter, now a colonel in the US Army with 20 years of service.

After her ROTC program, she was assigned to the Military Police Corps, but her real interests lie in psychology. So, she transferred to the Army Reserve and started on her master’s degree in counseling. That’s when she and a fellow student learned about Fielding’s doctoral program in clinical psychology.

This was back in ’91—before the prevalence of the Internet. She was pregnant with her first child, and her husband had just been deployed to Desert Storm. But Fielding’s distributed learning model made it all doable.

“With my husband being on active duty, I didn’t know how long we would be at any one location,” said Porter who re-entered active duty herself and applied for the Army’s Health Professions Scholarship. She joined the Reno cluster and graduated four years and three months later.

After his tour of duty, Porter’s husband was transferred to Hawaii, and she began her internship at Tripler Army Medical Center. Immediately following, she directed the chronic pain program there. Later she returned for a postdoctoral fellowship and then directed the fellowship program. (Porter is shown below in Hawaii with her mentor, Jerry Nims, PhD, JD, several years after her graduation.)

Hawaii to NY 075

Like many in the military, Porter’s career in the Army is characterized by a series of shifting assignments that span the country. When in the Army, you go where they tell you to.
For Porter, it was the Pentagon. She was first called to the Office of the Chief of Legislative Liaison where she received a different kind of education.

“It was an exciting job and so educational to see how Capitol Hill and the Pentagon work together, sometimes in a point-counter-point way but also in a complementary way,” said Porter.

In her second position in the Pentagon, Porter became a special assistant for the Well Being of the Army where she advised the Army senior leadership on things like how your work environment impacts your affinity to the Army.

“In that role I got another phenomenal education about how the senior leadership of the Army functions—how the processes work to fund programs, to look at evidence and look at the data to inform whether or not to keep a program,” she said.


DunhamPorter later went on to be the Chief of Behavioral Health for the Army Surgeon General and Director of Psychological Health for the Army. In that job she was a leader in Behavioral Health policy for the Army and testified before Congress on various healthcare matters.


Today Porter is Commander of Dunham US Army Health Clinic in Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. The facility provides primary health care for approximately 12,000 students at the US Army War College and other beneficiaries in the area. She is the first psychologist in the Army to be appointed to head a medical treatment facility, and she’s found her background essential.

“I have relied, almost daily, on my background as a clinical psychologist in doing this job,” said Porter. “I have addressed personnel and morale issues in the clinic through the use of some of what I know about attitude formation, attitude change, and confirmation bias. I’ve set up programs to try to shift peoples’ attention to positive things, rather than negative things.

Division 19 5984

“I have always felt like I had the right academic background and interpersonal background to be able to do what I’m doing now.”

This past January, Porter came to Winter Session in Santa Barbara and spoke candidly about military psychology and how policy on post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) has changed since the 1980s. For example, you can stay on active duty with PTSD as long as you can complete your duty.

"PTSD affects the entire family," said Porter, which is why it's important to put counselors in the schools with children of military parents.

 

Tags: adult learning, higher education, clinical psychology, fielding graduate university, army, graduate education, military psychology, veterans

New Books by Fielding Students, Faculty, and Alumni (November 2014)

Posted on Mon, Dec 01, 2014

The following books, authored by members of the Fielding community, were published in October and November 2014.

What Psychotherapists Learn From Their Clients, Edited by Sherry L. Hatcher, PhD, facultydescribe the image

Hatcher recently published research that has spanned several years with some of her
former and current doctoral students. Contributors to the book include three Fielding alumni and five current doctoral students. This book represents the conclusion of over four years of Hatcher’s work on her research project that was earlier published, in part, as a journal article.

DancingThroughRainDancing Through the Rain, by Valerie Grossman (HOS ’04)

It is a narrative addressing issues we all face. Appendices speak to generational transmission and social justice and invite readers to look at points in their own lives with a series of questions. The final appendix makes a possible connection between generational transmission and social justice.

Lenten Reflections: From the Desert to the Resurrection, by Milton Lopes, Faculty EmeritusResurrection

Milton’s book is written for those of us who want to be more spiritual. Four seminal questions are posed: Where are we? What are we? Who are we? Why are we? Answers to these questions set the stage for what many spiritual masters call the purgative way, in which the Twelve-Step Program of Alcoholic Anonymous is suggested as a framework to one’s first steps into spiritual wholeness.

After by AR NealAfter, by AR Neal (ELC ’09)

Andreé Robinson-Neal, EdD, is a well-published academic writer, but she stretches her wings with her third foray into science fiction. In her newest book, the ordinary world has ended. Some call it the Rapture of the Bible. Others say aliens are responsible, while others blame terrorism. As the main character, Marlena Jacoby, reflects on her husband's faith tradition and beliefs, she and her friends start seeing parallels between what is going on around them and what the Bible seems to suggest. Follow Marlena's journey of self-discovery and redemption as she discovers what happens "After."

Do you have a book that’s publishing soon? Send us your information, and we’ll include your book in next month’s blog.

Tags: social justice, fielding faculty, graduate education, human development

Student and Alumni Projects Improve the Lives of Veterans

Posted on Fri, Nov 07, 2014

by Marianne McCarthy

Veterans Day honors America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. While our nation pauses to reflect on those who have served our country, we would like to recognize a few of those in the Fielding community who dedicate their practice and study to improving the lives of veterans.

Preparing to Serve Vets and Their Families

“A lot of our veterans are coming back with brain injuries, and they are finding that they have increased sensitivity to light, memory problems, difficulty thinking and reasoning, and responding with the same kind of personality their spouses remember,” says Jeremy Jinkerson, a doctoral student in clinical psychology with neuropsychology concentration.

Jinkerson's interest in military psychology stems from his earlier work with children and adolescents, where he developed specialties and interest in the traumatic process and how PTSD develops.  He is currently doing his practicum at Little Rock Air Force Base and applying to become an officer in the Air Force.

Jinkerson is also the Commanding Officer of Fielding’s APA Division 19 Society for Military Psychology student chapter. Other officers include Tiffany Duffing (Executive Officer) and Athena Hubbard (Secretary/Treasurer). The group has put together a training series to help prepare students to serve active military families and veterans now and in their future careers.  They’ve brought in speakers and even had presentations from some Fielding students.Fielding Div19 officers

“We can learn a lot from [Fielding] veterans as well,” says Jinkerson.  “We’ve had presentations on military culture and on topics that are of interest and pertinent to us from a clinical perspective. We’ve had presentations from interns at active duty sites as well as national training directors who are teaching us what we need to know now to apply to their site this year or next year.

Later this year, Jinkerson will transition into a more national role for Division 19. As Director of Programming, he’ll be organizing programming and virtual dissemination strategies for all of Division 19 members.

Developing Entrepreneurship for Veterans’ Families

Growing up in Harlem with parents who were actively involved in community affairs had a huge impact on Stephen Redmon. The Human & Organizational Systems (HOS) alumnus (2013) has been devoted to community service since he graduated college and joined the Peace Corps. Today, Redmon serves as Special Assistant to the General Counsel of the Departments of Veterans Affairs. But in 2008, he was selected for the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities at Syracuse University where he developed an award-winning business plan for improving the quality of life for service-disabled veterans.

describe the imageHis dissertation explores the experiences of family members of veterans who participated in the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans Family Program (EBV-F), an entrepreneurial learning and coaching program designed to assist family members of service-disabled veterans in an effort to support the discontinuous life transition of these veterans and their families. 

“Family members of service-disabled veterans oftentimes have to bring more income to the family to make up for the decrease in income because possibly of the service disabled veteran,” says Redmon. “The entrepreneur opportunity offers both the potential for income and resources for the family, but also a more flexible way to bring in those resources to the family.”

Redmon has been practicing law for 25 years. His doctorate in HOS has allowed him to take a “more holistic, medical-legal approach” to his practice. Rather than looking at a case from as a purely criminal justice matter, Redmon seeks out the root cause of a patient’s condition to see if there’s a legal component to it. Does the veteran need counseling? Assessment, diagnosis, or treatment? Is a drug or alcohol intervention needed?

Comforting Heroes in their Greatest Hour of Need

RebeccaA couple of years ago, clinical psychology doctoral student Rebecca Hodges started the Military Heroes Comfort Project. The nonprofit organization provides knitted hats, blankets and other sources of comfort to military heroes and their families going through chemotherapy, infusions, or radiation.

The project began following her own family’s struggle with cancer. When her foster son retired from active duty, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and needed infusions. According to Hodges, military budget cuts meant few of any items of comfort were available during these treatments. She saw a huge need for lap blankets, chemo hats, ball caps, slippers and quilts to help comfort patients as they bravely battled with cancer. Yet regulations prohibited anyone from giving or sharing these items to non-relatives. That’s when Hodges decided to create her own organization, one that is sanctioned by the US Judge Advocate General (JAG). In the short span of two years, her group, comprised completely of volunteer sewers, knitters, and donors from across the nation, has provided over $350,000 in donated or handmade gifts to patients of all ages (infants through geriatrics).ComfortProject

Hodges always needs donors and crafters, but she is especially looking for someone to help the organization with social media and a website. If you’re interested in helping out, email her at mh.comfort.project@gmail.com. All donations are tax-deductible.

Want to get involved?

If you are a veteran or are interested in learning more about veterans' issues, there are two Fielding communities to consider joining. Psychology students can join Division 19 of the American Psychological Association (APA). Any student can join the Fielding Veterans Connection, a group that was initiated by Redmon and fellow HOS alumnus Bart Buechner as a space to share interests and offer support. The group has both a Moodle (login required) and LinkedIn forum and is open to both veterans and non-veterans. 

Tags: psychology, trauma psychology, APA Division 19, fielding graduate university, graduate education, military psychology, veterans

MA-CEL Alumna Invited to White House to Receive Presidential Arts Funding

Posted on Thu, Aug 14, 2014


By Marianne McCarthy

Malissa Cindy Rachel with captionWhen Principal Rachel Clark Messineo (MA-CEL, ’08) received an invitation to the White House this past May, she knew her school had been chosen as a recipient of an arts education initiative that could help make a difference in her school. But the students of Burbank Elementary and the rest of San Diego didn’t know for sure until they watched the event streaming live from the White House. Of course, they couldn’t be more proud and excited, as are we at Fielding.

Burbank Elementary is one of only 35 schools across the nation to participate in the Turnaround Arts Initiative, an assistance program that provides training, development, and workshops to ensure that the arts are an available avenue to success for all students.

Underperforming School Struggles to Change

Led by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, together with local partners, Turnaround Arts aims to help failing schools implement high quality arts education to “turnaround” the pervasive problems found in high-poverty, chronically underperforming schools. By using the arts as a strategic tool, students are engaged while they learn 21st century skills critical to their success.

Burbank Elementary is located in the “Barrio Logan” area of San Diego, serving 350 students, all of whom are socioeconomically disadvantaged. In 2010, it was identified as performing in the lowest 5% of all California schools.Burbank Elementary

 “We’ve been a chronically under-performing school for many years working hard to make a difference, but our scores just go up a tiny bit each year, so it’s hard work. Our kids are low income, second-language learners, part of a very transient population. There are lots of things working against us, but we’re really hoping that integrating arts will be an avenue to attract students to stay at our school,” says Rachel.

She explains that due to limited funding Burbank Elementary doesn’t offer any on-going activities like some of the other more affluent schools in her district. When funds get cut, it’s usually the arts and extracurricular activities that go first. Burbank doesn’t have funds to provide anything other than the core classes: reading, science, math, and history. Kids who struggle in these areas typically don’t want to come to school, says Rachel.

“If we had an acting class, or a singing class, or a dance class, they’d be more excited about coming to school and could learn through song or dance. They could learn through acting, building sets, things like that.  So we’re looking at integrating arts as a way to improve our academics which will ultimately improve self-esteem, confidence, and attendance…maybe we could even become a school of choice for new students.”

Believing in the Value of Arts Education

She believes that there is a connection between arts education and academic achievement. She has a personal connection and passion for arts education as she has played the flute, piccolo, and piano since elementary-school age. She has experienced first-hand how arts education increases student motivation, confidence, and teamwork.

Associated with the school since 2009, Rachel has moved up the ladder from teacher to grant coordinator to just last year being appointed principal.

“As I began my journey toward an administrative position, I started utilizing materials that I had learned at Fielding. It just kept sinking in deeper and deeper,” says Rachel.  “Now that I’m a principal, I frequently draw upon the readings, the books, the activities, and the collaborative tasks that were assigned. Facilitators said, ‘Trust the process,’ and several years later, I see what they meant.”

Turnaround Arts Equips Teachers with Powerful Tools

TurnaroundArtslogoAccording to the Turnaround Arts website, placing the arts as the heart and soul of a school gives leadership and teachers powerful tools to improve school climate and culture, increase student and parent engagement, which ultimately contributes to improved academic achievement and the successful turnaround of a failing school.

Obamas KidsTurnaround Arts began as a pilot program with eight schools, and celebrating that success is what the White House event was all about. First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a talent show in the East Room of the White House, which was transformed into an old fashioned school auditorium. Students from the program’s inaugural schools showed off their skills singing, dancing, making music, and reciting poetry. The First Lady also announced the expansion of the program, from eight pilot schools to 35 schools, 10 from California. Celebrities Sara Jessica Parker and Alfre Woodard, artist-mentors who were paired with one of the original eight schools, were there to help promote the event. President Barack Obama even made a surprise appearance before the show concluded—and Rachel and her superintendent got to shake his hand at the event.

Burbank Gets Assigned an Artist-Mentor

This month, Burbank Elementary meets their new artist-mentor, Grammy award-winning musician Jason Mraz, who lives in the San Diego area. Mraz will work with Rachel and Burbank teachers to infuse the arts into curriculum and campus culture over the next three years.

“We have planned to learn how to play the guitar and ukulele, and Jason plays both!” says Rachel.  “Our hope is that we can have a concert with him at the end of the year with students all playing one of his songs.”

Mraz said in a statement, “I’m humbled by the opportunity to support and represent a school in our country and my local community that will greatly benefit from the support of a vibrant arts education program. The arts are the key to life and the Turnaround Arts program will open the doors for youth to life, love, creativity and endless imagination.”


Tags: art education, change agent, social justice, educational leadership, diversity, multicultural, arts, fielding graduate university, graduate education, teacher education, MA-CEL

Doctoral Students Stay Connected and Get Things Done!

Posted on Fri, Jun 20, 2014

Anchor Group Stays Close Through Session and Daily Emails

By Marianne McCarthy

There’s nothing simple about graduate school—especially when you do it on as an adult. Our students have busy lives that often include a job, family, and other commitments, not to mention all the activities that come with them!

“It’s easy to disconnect from school. Other things come in the way and they are all huge priorities,” says doctoral student Dohrea Bardell. “To maintain focus, you need people around you to constantly remind you.”

Dohrea, who runs a Seattle-based manufacturing company with her husband, is one of six members of the Getting Things Done (GTD) group. These Human & Organizational Development (HOD) students originally met at a New Student Orientation (NSO) in 2011. Dohrea and the other members of the group have found that staying connected with each other helps them stay on top of their coursework and their degree progress.

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Getting Things Done group members (from left to right): Dohrea Bardell, Holly Bardutz, Trevor Maber, Susan Miele, Don Khouri, and Sam Jama.

The group’s name comes from the book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen, a veteran coach whose premise is: productivity is directly proportional to our ability to relax.  It made a profound impact on one of the member’s coaching practice, and the group adopted the name because they decided they were going to get things done!

Daily Emails Keep them on Track

At NSO, the GTD members spent a lot of time on the Lifelines component, analyzing each other’s milestones and really getting to know each other.  After returning home, they initiated a system of daily emails at the suggestion of their program director, Dorothy Agger-Gupta. Since then, each member has taken one day out of every week to compose a message to the rest of the group. As a result of this daily contact, they have developed a strong bond, despite their distance.

 “With a daily connection and constant contact with Fielding peers, doctoral work becomes an integral part of your everyday thoughts. You’re constantly reminded about the work that you have to do, but also feel a part of the community via a virtual community,” says GTD member Sam Jama who lives and works in Canada.

Their daily messages comprise something personal or something very practical for the program.

“Whatever you want, even little tips or jokes.” says Holly Bardutz, “I have two kids and a job, but the emails remind me every day that this is part of my life too, and I have to keep going.”

Staying connected with each other has a profound impact on their success, admits Professor Agger-Gupta, who says that students who stay closely connected to others throughout their program benefit from the collegiality and have a greater tendency to complete their program.

“You could go through this program and have little to no contact with anyone else,” says Canadian Trevor Maber. “Some people are great at that, but I like to socialize. I need that connection. I need that sense of belonging.”

Group Collaborates on Coursework

GTD members contracted, designed, and executed several of their Knowledge Areas (KAs) together. Deciding that it’s better to go through courses together than apart, they leverage resources, take turns interviewing faculty, and collectively select the literature.

Susan Miele is raising a teenaged daughter and managing a human resources team at a technology company while working toward her doctorate. For her, working on coursework together was beneficial. “It’s easy to get distracted when you have your own individual deadline versus when you have five other people who are committed to the same timelines.”

“I wonder how people without the support network do it,” says Don Khouri, an executive coach for the technology and healthcare industries in New England and New York. “I’ve talked to other folks who struggle because they don’t have some of the logistical and process knowledge about HOD that we gained from someone in our group.”

Session Has More Meaning

Summer Session is just around the corner and all six members are slated to meet in Chicago this July.

“I don’t think I would come as often as I do if I didn’t know these people,” says Holly. “Knowing that they will be there is what motivates me to come here, and I’m more comfortable.”

GTD group members use their collective bandwidth to capitalize on all the opportunities Session presents. They attend different workshops, then come back together and share what they learned.  They benefit from discussing and debating these concepts and ideas from within their various viewpoints.

“In some ways we are a very divergent group and that brings a lot of richness to our experience in that we bring different perspectives and backgrounds,” says Trevor.  “It challenges us in other ways. If the six of us all lived in Phoenix and agreed on everything, I don’t know if we’d have the same experience.”

Group Provides Emotional Support

GTD group

 “Most people don’t know what it means to get a PhD, not to mention what Fielding is like,” says Susan. “As much as my husband and daughter are supportive they have no idea. They just know I’m busy all the time.”

“I view GTD as a group of lifelong friends. We have really built that bond. It’s not just Fielding stuff we’re talking about on a daily basis; it’s life stuff,” says Don.

The GTD Group of Six” is in the midst of an amazing learning journey, and I know that the strength and insight they each bring to this group will enable them to thrive when they all become the “GTD Group of Six PhDs!” says Professor Agger-Gupta.



Tags: adult learning, Distributed education, national session, graduate education, human development, distance education, learning

Alumna Recounts Earning PhD at Fielding while Raising Small Children

Posted on Wed, May 07, 2014

ErickJacob13SummerSessionGraduate Education + Motherhood = Possible!

By Kari Newbill Lannon, PhD (PSY ’13)

Special thanks to guest blogger, Kari L. Lannon, PhD, who shared her personal experience of earning her PhD while starting a family. This article celebrates all Fielding students who combine motherhood and scholarship. We applaud and honor you! Happy Mother’s Day!

Fielding Graduate University is an amazing place! I chose Fielding for two primary reasons: the high quality APA-accredited program in clinical psychology and the flexibility offered by the distributed learning model.

My husband’s industry was on a three- to four-year cycle of geographic moves, and I wanted to start a graduate program that I could finish if I was unable to stay in the same city. Little did I know, that my journey of becoming a psychologist and mother were about to begin! Three weeks after starting at Fielding, I discovered I was pregnant and the adventure intensified. Because of the incredible support of Fielding faculty and students, family, and friends, I successfully completed my first year while in the midst of severe morning sickness, months of working on my laptop in bed while on bed rest, and a breastfeeding baby who attended clusters and sessions. I cannot imagine being able to accomplish this at any other school.

EC4The flexibility and support of the Fielding community continued as subsequent years brought a second baby. My children have always been welcomed and included into Fielding events. I arranged my practicum schedules to spend the first year of each baby’s life primarily with them, keeping my family a priority even as I continued to successfully progress in school. I joined the Fielding LONGSCAN research team while seven months pregnant and on bed rest. Throughout my dissertation process, the team and my committee provided helpful feedback and understanding about the difficulties inherent in parenting two active boys while generating doctoral level research.

Going through the APA match process was complicated because I was trying to balance family and educational goals. My mother and children traveled to interviews with me as I was still nursing my second baby. I was incredibly blessed to match at an APA-accredited site, Cornerstone Counseling Center of Chicago, part of the Chicago Area Christian Training Consortium that provided outstanding and diverse clinical experiences and training opportunities. My family and I relocated from Dallas to Chicago, where I worked in an environment that was congruent with my values of social justice, faith, and family.


Summer2011BoysSchoolSessionI cannot adequately describe my sense of thankfulness, accomplishment, and excitement when my Final Oral Review was scheduled for Summer Session 2013, and I registered to walk in graduation. I made plans for my husband, parents, in-laws, and children to attend as they have all been integral parts of my education along with Fielding faculty and students, practicum and internship supervisors, and colleagues. My education at Fielding will always be measured by the age of my oldest son, Erick, and my dissertation research by my younger boy, Jacob.

As I stated in my dissertation acknowledgements: It takes a village to earn a PhD as a mother!

Tags: APA, gender empowerment, psychology, women's issues, adult learning, clinical psychology, graduate education

Living Donor Advocates for Better Organ Donation Policies

Posted on Tue, Oct 08, 2013

Vicky Young, PhD

Alumna describes “ripple effect” that changed her life

By Marianne McCarthy

In the midst of working on her PhD in PhD in Human and Organizational Systems, Vicky Young (HOS ’07) made a life-altering decision to donate one of her kidneys to a long-time friend and colleague. While she doesn’t regret her decision, she was unprepared for the personal consequences of the procedure and has since become a powerful advocate for living donors’ voices—a commitment that began with her doctoral research.

A self-proclaimed non-traditional student who preferred independent study, Vicky entered the HOS doctoral program because the Fielding model worked with her style of learning. In 2004, she was struggling with her health at the same time she was working on her dissertation. While refining a completely separate research question, her mentor suggested she study what was already shaping her life—her recent kidney donation.

“I was searching for ways to cure my depression, when I found out that I had very low kidney function,” she says. 

Vicky wanted to examine how organ donation affects people, so she based her dissertation research on the experiences of 12 other living donors. As she interviewed her subjects, she realized that they, like herself, felt disenfranchised by the process.  

“There are informed consents forms when you go through the process of trying to donate. You’re supposed to be interviewed by a social worker. You’re supposed to have an independent donor advocate. You’re supposed to be told about the possibility of complications, but not everybody has the same understanding of things,” says Vicky.

Four years after donating she was diagnosed with stage 3 chronic kidney disease, which is characterized by moderately reduced kidney function, the most severe being stage 5. Yet, complications like depression and reduced kidney function were never discussed as possible consequences. Because of this, it’s been her mission to get more information into the hands of potential donors before they make that crucial decision as well as to advocate for research on the psycho-social, health, and financial consequences of organ donation.

After working on the Living Donor Committee of the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) for three years, Vicky was appointed in March 2013 to the board of directors. UNOS is contracted by the federal government and is the only organization that oversees the transplant industry in the United States. As a voting member, Vicky will partake in organ transplant policy decisions, such as a proposed policy allowing an HIV-positive donor give to an HIV-positive recipient.

“I’ll try to look at policy issues from the professional manner of being an academic, being somebody who teaches human development, who looks at social systems, and of course, bring in my voice as living donor and the voices of the other living donors that I know across the country,” says Vicky who continues to monitor her lowered kidney function.

Currently a faculty member of Prescott College in Arizona, Vicky weaves her experience into the classroom.

“I try to bring in race, ethnicity, power, privilege, all of those things, and give people examples of disenfranchised and under-represented groups,” says Vicky, adding that Native Americans, Hispanics, and African-Americans in our country have a high rate of kidney disease, often as a result of diabetes. “So we look at socio-economic issues, poverty issues, education issues, all of those things have these ramifications.”

While Vicky remains devoted to ensuring that the voices of living donors are more prominent despite her own health struggles, she has no regrets.

“I’m a spiritual person. Did all of this happen for a reason? It changed my life and changed my direction. It was like throwing a pebble in the pond and getting the ripple effect,” says Vicky.

Tags: social justice, higher education, healthcare, human rights, graduate education, research

Touching Lives, Changing Systems, Creating the Future

Posted on Mon, Oct 22, 2012
describe the image

By Henry H Fowler (ELC '10)

Fielding allowed me to thrive from the comfort of my cultural environment.

Fielding’s focus on the art of teaching brought me back to my Native land.  I was challenged to study and investigate curriculum as it related to my native population and create new approaches that could make a difference in the lives of young Navajo people. 

Even though I have long been motivated to teach math, throughout the years of my teaching career, I began to have mixed feelings about teaching math.  My enthusiasm about teaching math had begun to lessen. Each year in my math classes, I observed my students who were quiet and unmotivated to learn mathematics. My teaching was unattractive to them and they found my questions meaningless. My daily challenge was to teach math to students who lacked knowledge of basic math facts, were unmotivated, had high absenteeism and tardiness, were unprepared for class, lacked parental support, lacked current math books, had no access to technology, had high class enrollment, and were disruptive.  The sum of these reasons weighed heavily on me, and my passion for teaching began to stall.  Fortunately, my enrollment at Fielding afforded me a new platform for thinking critically about my teaching experience.  As a direct result of my work at Fielding, I have made inquiry and gained clear insight about teaching math to Navajo students.  This has set the stage for invigorated research about and development of new instructional strategies that have energized my students to learn math and me to teach.


I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to experience a wealth of education through Fielding Graduate University. Fielding provided me an education that was practical, meaningful, and relevant. The Educational Leadership and Change curriculum was suitable for me and it was tailored to my needs.  The schooling I received at Fielding is closely correlated with the teaching of the Navajos. In the Navajo culture, our elders illuminate their teaching based on the notion that is up to an individual to be a self-directed learner, to find balance, and to produce positive experiences that will improve quality of life for everyone. Fielding’s similar emphasis on self-direction to create positive experiences, has allowed me to extend my knowledge in areas of my interest to me and to explore and integrate other theories to expand my perspective in education. Fielding was open to and supportive of my cultural background.  This support has allowed me to strive for more in-depth study.

Fielding helped open the opportunity for me to address the dismal outlook of the Navajo high school poor performance in mathematics.  As a direct result of the Fielding curriculum, I am more aware of my surroundings and how they impact teaching delivery and reception.  I bring an enlivened critical thinking mindset to my intellectual endeavors, and I feel empowered as a teacher to lead efforts to change the math education on the Navajo Reservation.  I am encouraged to broaden the perspective of my immediate horizon and challenged to actively pursue my interest in improving math education for Navajo students.  The Fielding approach to learning engaged me and afforded me learning experiences which were was relevant and meaningful.

The Navajos believe they are part of nature, and that this natural order gives directions for life.  The Navajos agree their natural surroundings bring the energy of spirit to the people.  That energy is infused with purpose and direction for the Navajo people.  According to Hozho, the Navajo purpose on this earth is to keep in balance, harmony, and respect with the natural order.  A good life resides in every angle of the morning light with a promising sense of beauty, hope, and determination for every individual.  The Navajo understand, that with a sense of the complementary and supplementary, an individual will feel beauty above, below, around, and before him or her from every angle.  The Navajo continue to practice this traditional heritage.  Complementary angles are two angles whose angles add up to 90 degrees and supplementary angles are two angles whose angles add up to 180 degrees. Using the Hozho model, this phenomenon could be represented to Navajo learners as ‘beauty above me + beauty below me = 90 degrees, and beauty around me + beauty before me = 180 degrees.  I believe it is time for Navajo educators to lead in creating educational math materials for the Navajo high school students to support their mathematical reasoning and communication. This approach to Navajo education would help students realize that math is part of their culture and to inspire students take an interest in appreciating and studying mathematics rather than feeling separate from it and mystified by it. 

The learning I acquired from Fielding provided me with new skills to tackle the problematic issues faced by the Navajo high school students in learning mathematics and succeeding on the standardized tests. Fielding staff provided excellent feedback for me to grow and expand my horizons in the scholarly world by recommending stellar literatures to read that related to my interests and field of study.  Fielding staff made me feel special because they listened to and valued my opinions.  I feel as if I have been nourished.

 

Tags: educational leadership, diversity, multicultural, graduate education

Alumnus Uses Organizational Skills to Improve Quality of Life for Native Americans

Posted on Wed, Feb 22, 2012

Dr. John CastilloI come from Apache heritage on my father’s side. I grew up in Compton, but my family moved to Orange County during the Watts riots when I was in second grade. I went from a black community to a white community. This transition was a defining moment in my life, influencing my choice to use my organizational skills to help the Native American community.

John Castillo (HOD '00) is the Executive Director of Walking Shield Inc., a non-profit organization based in Lake Forest, CA that is dedicated to improving the quality of life for American Indian families.

"While I was a graduate student, Fielding’s unique learning opportunities supported my efforts to create and sustain these successful collaborations—and continue to influence my work at Walking Shield," said Dr. Castillo.

John's goal is “to work on a statewide initiative to build a pipeline for Native American students to attend college.

"For Native Americans, there is a 50% high school dropout rate. My vision for the future is to improve that statistic and work on a statewide initiative to build a pipeline for Native American students to attend college," he added.

Dr. Castillo, works closely with tribal leaders to develop and sustain programs that provide shelter, healthcare, community development support, educational assistance, and humanitarian aid to Native American communities.

Walking Shield is collaborative effort that engages American Indians and the U.S. Military in a unique partnership. Through a special program called Innovative Readiness Training (IRT), military personnel applWalkingShieldy their talents to rebuild and strengthen American Indian communities through healthcare assistance and infrastructure support. Since IRT’s inception in 1994, Walking Shield has provided training missions for the military on American Indian reservations where conditions often mimic those in third world countries.

True collaboration is a unique art form. All partners commit to common goals and objectives, work together to achieve these goals, utilize each other’s expertise, and create a win-win situation for all. Our collaboration meets these criteria. Before efforts begin, all parties agree to the goals and objectives to be achieved. Throughout the military deployment, members of the tribe work side by side with the troops, combining their efforts to achieve success. Walking Shield mitigates any problems that arise.

All partners use their talents and skills to meet the goals within a predetermined time frame. Most importantly, everyone wins. The tribe may get new roads, homes, water wells, electrical lines, or much needed healthcare assistance.

The military gets to utilize its skills and talents, which enhance deployment readiness and promotes retention. Walking Shield wins by meeting its mission—to improve the quality of life on reservations.

Dr. Castillo has taught graduate courses in social work as well as undergraduate courses on Indian Studies at California State University, Long Beach. He has published several articles about American Indians and is a sought out speaker at functions across the country. With decades of experience in program coordination and a Ph.D. in Organizational Development (Fielding), Dr. Castillo is fully dedicated to improving the quality of life on American Indian reservations. For more information about John's work, please visit www.walkingshield.org

 

Tags: social justice, multicultural, adult learning, healthcare, human rights, graduate education

'Being A Psychologist Means Being A Healer'

Posted on Mon, Apr 06, 2009

By James G. Schiller, PhD (Clinical Psychology ’08)

I began serving the New York City HIV community at St. Clare’s Hospital in 1990, I was one of the early hospital-based case managers, counseling people suffering from the stigma of Karposi Sarcoma, an HIV-related cancer that left visible marks. In 1993, I co-founded an intensive HIV case management program at Argus Community, Inc., a not-for-profit in the Bronx serving people who are HIV-positive and their loved ones. I now oversee all outpatient HIV and substance abuse mental health services for 1,000 people each year. I am a recipient of the New York Statedescribe the image Department of Health’s Dr. Nicholas Rango Award for Development of Quality Case Management Services and former co-chair of the New York State AIDS Institute Department of Health Technical Assistant Group. I have lectured at Hunter College and continue to provide local and state patient care training.

I have a bachelor’s degree from St. Anselm College and a master’s degree from Hunter College. I served as Fielding’s student body president from 1998-1999.

WHY FIELDING

When I applied to doctoral programs, I was accepted to both Fielding and another school. I chose the more traditional route but, a year later, was unhappy with the large anonymous classes, extreme competition, and minimal student or faculty interaction. I reapplied to Fielding and was accepted. My initial instinct that Fielding faculty members are scholarly, supportive, available, and genuine was correct and kept me focused until I obtained my doctorate. 

FIELDING’S IMPACT ON MY LIFE

To me, being a psychologist means being a healer. Fielding helped me to expand and clarify how I can use my day-to-day assessment and treatment skills for healing. My dissertation attachment research continues to impact my perspective on the bilateral interpersonal dynamics that exist between patients and providers in our field, informing my current research and professional mental health staff training. Fielding provided the venue to both enhance my clinical skills and acquire professional credentials, inspiring me to make more significant contributions in the fields of both mental and HIV health. 

Tags: HIV, psychology, AIDs, adult learning, clinical psychology, healthcare, graduate education