Dear Alumni and Friends,
Many thanks to all of you who made my job easier by responding to my request for your insight into the value of your education. Your comments have been posted on our Value of Liberal Arts Education website for parents, potential and current students, and employers to see.
This year, I spent a lot of time talking to groups of parents, students, alumni, and community leaders about the value of a liberal arts education. The message that a liberal arts degree prepares students for the essential critical thinking skills required in all professions is taking hold. I have been asked to speak to Rotary clubs in the Puget Sound area, and the response has been heartwarming.
In addition to features on Father Patrick Kelly, SJ, and Criminal Justice students assisting the Seattle Police Department, we feature alumni who are putting a liberal arts education to great use: Shasti Conrad has just finished working in the White House and soon heads to Princeton for graduate school; Rosie Newman is President of the Washington Play Therapy Association; and Anna Morgan Mullane received a major award for her work with children in New York City.
We will be busy this summer as both undergraduate and graduate students continue their studies on campus and we arrange for another year of fine arts events, lectures, and alumni activities. For the most recent information about all things Arts and Sciences, please join our Facebook page.
I look forward to seeing you soon!
David V. Powers
Professor Patrick Kelly, SJ, former football player at Grand Valley State University, has always enjoyed sports. Today, he has merged his academic and spiritual interests in a new book: Catholic Perspectives on Sport: From Medieval to Modern Times published by Paulist Press.
In his book, Kelly discusses how Catholics have engaged in play and sport since the medieval period. He also examines how this engagement has been related to theological and spiritual sensibilities.
As sports are increasingly in danger of losing the play element, Kelly argues, the earlier acceptance of play and the understanding of its connection to virtue and spirituality are important to re-examine.
“Christians in the medieval and early modern periods thought play was important in a virtuous life, because one shouldn't be studying or working all the time” he said. “Thomas Aquinas, in fact, believed that play was closely related to spiritual values.”
In a review, social scientist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi wrote, "It would be a great loss if this book were to be read only by historians of religion, because the clarity, vigor, and profound knowledge contained in it will inform and fascinate anyone who is interested in the broader context of mind and society where religion evolves."
A short video about the book is at this link.
Fr. Kelly joined the faculty in 2006. He teaches in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences as well as in the School of Theology and Ministry. His scholarship focuses on sport and theology and sport as it relates to human development and spirituality.
Criminal Justice graduate students Heather Burns (left) and Lindsie Gillon (right) supported Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and the Seattle Police Department (SPD) in their community outreach efforts. Working under the direction of Professor Stephen Rice, they compiled and reported on data from hundreds of participants in community meetings throughout the city. Their reports focused on the Seattle community as a whole and separately on immigrant and refugee communities.
In 2012, SPD came under scrutiny by the Department of Justice. To address Department of Justice concerns, the City of Seattle developed a plan of initiatives for SPD. “SPD 20/20: A Vision for the Future,” is a set of 20 initiatives. Implementation is taking place over 20 months. Initiative 19, “Launch a Community Outreach Effort,” resulted in meetings among in every precinct in the city.
“We were approached by the Mayor’s Office to help with thousands of statements gathered during community outreach meetings,” Rice said. “The students took classroom analytic skills and put them into practice in a high-profile, real-world setting.”
Burns and Gillon analyzed raw data from the hundreds of the participants and created reports that divided the analyses into five categories: top concerns about public safety, what can communities and the police do together to create safer communities, what is going well between the community and SPD, what needs to improve, and what steps can be taken to keep the community engaged in the process of creating safer communities. The reports are on the SPD website.
“The citizens as a whole showed support for SPD,” Gillon said. “I was excited to have this opportunity to build relationships with SPD and the City, especially since the police have had such a high profile in the media.”
Burns was surprised at the findings: “Of the thousands of comments gathered at the meetings, only a handful were about race or use of force.”
Burns, who is finishing her master’s thesis, works for the Washington State Patrol as a research analyst in the newly created Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Bureau. Gillon, who graduated in June and has had experience with the government’s NW High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, plans to continue to work at the federal level.
In addition to undergraduate degrees, the Criminal Justice Department offers an M.A. in Criminal Justice (MACJ), a certificate in crime analysis, and a joint MACJ/JD with the law school.
Rosie Newman, MAP class of 2010, was elected president of the Washington State Association for Play Therapy (WAAPT). Newman is a child and family therapist at Valley Cities Counseling and Consultation.
“I was always interested in the phenomenological movement,” Newman said recently from her office in Federal Way. “That’s what brought me to Seattle University. I really didn’t know about play therapy until a practicum opened up at Valley Cities.”
Newman came to Seattle with an undergraduate psychology degree from Richmond University in London, England. After working on a crisis line in the Bay Area, she travelled to India to work with autistic children before beginning her MAP studies. A chance opening for a practicum in play therapy brought Newman to Valley Cities under the supervision of then WAAPT president, Greg Oleson, LMFT, CMHS, RPT-S. She built on that experience and now is a family and child therapist working mainly with children under the age of 12 and their families.
Most of Valley Cities clients are referred by school counselors, primary physicians, and state social workers. Many of the children have experienced trauma, abuse, neglect, or abandonment. Some have attention deficit disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder.
The play therapy room at Valley Cities is filled with many of the toys seen in a typical play room: dollhouse, building blocks, dolls, plastic animals and people, doctor kits, puppets, and sand box. In the hands of a play therapist, these toys become tools that validate children’s experiences. They provide a means to enable the children to express themselves and eventually to cope with their distress.
“I work first with the child alone and gain trust and confidence,” Newman said. “I meet separately with the parents to maximize the benefits of the therapy and later with the child and parents together.”
In Washington state, play therapy is gradually gaining a foothold among child and family therapists. Only 65 individuals are currently registered play therapists here compared to more than 580 in Texas. As head of the state association, Newman wants to increase awareness among practitioners of the value of play therapy in the child-family-therapist relationship.
“Play therapy is just beginning to be recognized here as a valuable approach when working with children,” Newman said. “My job with the association is to increase awareness of this important technique to help children in critical situations.”
Just eight years out of college, Anna Morgan-Mullane developed an outpatient mental health clinic in one of the poorest areas of New York City. For her work, Morgan-Mullane was one of five people to receive the 2013 PASEsetter Award, a prestigious award in afterschool excellence, before a crowd of 700 in New York City.
Anna Morgan-Mullane came to Seattle University planning to be a psychologist. After taking a class with Sociology Professor Ruth White and working with children in a White Center elementary school, she refocused her career plans. White proved to be a valuable mentor, and Morgan-Mullane enrolled in Fordham University’s School of Social Work after graduation. Fordham’s intensive program included a 25-hour per week internship. Her practicum was in the Bronx Children’s Psychiatric Hospital.
“I was working in an acute day treatment program in the inner city,” she said. “We were dealing with chronically mental ill adolescents, and treatment included group therapy and intensive clinical therapy. This was the last stop before they could be removed from school and placed in juvenile detention.”
After receiving her MSW, Morgan-Mullane continued to work in the Bronx and joined the staff at the Jacoby Medical Center Pediatric and Adolescent HIV/AIDS Clinic. As the liaison between doctor and patient, she helped children cope with HIV/AIDS.
“Many of the children had lost parents to HIV,” she said. “Not only were they dealing with that loss, they were also trying to cope with their own disease without the support that a parent provides. Taking their medication is a daily reminder of the illness they have.”
Many of Morgan-Mullane’s clients were HIV positive from infancy. Doctors in the clinic knew the families, and as the children aged, the clinic staff provided therapy and support to help them in adolescence.
“Some of our patients had difficulty in school. Some had mental illness. Some got pregnant. All were living with the specter of HIV,” Morgan-Mullane emphasized.
In 2009, Morgan-Mullane joined a newly established social service agency, Children of Promise. Located in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn, Children of Promise began by providing mentoring, summer camp, and after-school activities for children whose parents were incarcerated. The agency developed a special curriculum with a therapeutic component in its programing. When it became clear that the agency needed to expand its therapeutic work, Morgan-Mullane and Executive Director Sharon Content established an outpatient therapeutic mental health clinic. Morgan-Mullane became its first director.
“Children with parents, siblings, or relatives in jail have particular mental health needs,” Morgan-Mullane emphasized. “Like children dealing with HIV, they experience shame. They act out, tend to get involved in crime, and have problems in school. The clinic and after-school programs provided a safe, therapeutic environment, and we have had great success in breaking the cycle of incarceration too often seen in families.”
The clinic receives referrals from principals, teachers, foster care parents, and social workers. Staff work directly with the children, their teachers, and their parents. All services are free.
“Ruth White got me interested in working with marginalized populations,” Morgan-Mullane said. “It’s hard and stressful but rewarding work. I go jogging a lot. ”
Shasti Conrad, a Sullivan scholar and Honors alum, quickly made her mark when she came to Seattle University from Oregon. As the founding president of the Oxfam student club, she worked with the university’s food service, Bon Appetit, to ensure that only fair trade coffee would be used on campus. When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, Oxfam hosted a week of events to raise funds for rebuilding. With the Seattle University Youth Initiative, she helped students at Bailey Gatzert Elementary School to improve their reading skills. But it was the Sociology major’s thesis on social activism that paved the way for her work at the White House.
“I looked at social activism among the hip-hop community,” Conrad said. “I was interested in how to get young people involved in politics, particularly young people of color.”
After graduating and spending some time abroad, Conrad came back to Washington state to work as a field organizer on the 2008 Obama for President campaign. Another alum, Alyson Palmer, class of 2006, had joined the campaign in Indiana and following the election was asked to put together the White House intern program. Upon her suggestion, Conrad applied and became one of only 100 interns headed to Washington, D.C., as a presidential intern.
“I joined the White House Office of Urban Affairs,” Conrad said. “It was a new office focused on how the federal government could partner with cities to revitalize urban communities.”
It didn’t’ take long before Conrad became the staff assistant to Kareem Dale, Special Assistant to the President on Disability Policy. Conrad travelled with Dale, a civil rights lawyer who is partially blind, briefed him on issues and the people he would be meeting, and served as his reader.
By the summer of 2010, Conrad had drawn the attention of Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President. Jarrett oversees the Offices of Intergovernmental Affairs; Public Engagement; and Olympic, Paralympic, and Youth Sport. Conrad moved to the West Wing to serve as her executive assistant.
“I slept with my Blackberry on vibrate,” Conrad said. “It was the summer of the oil spill in the Gulf Coast, the first debt ceiling crisis, and the Middle East in turmoil.”
Sitting close to the seat of power, Conrad developed an appreciation for leaders and leadership. She realized that even the most powerful have the same concerns as everyone else.
“They have kids. They want to do well. They get nervous before a speech,” she said. “Regardless of their political views, they chose public service and want to make things better.”
An experience with U2's Bono was a highlight: “I told him I had gone to Seattle University, and he told me how much he valued the work of the Jesuits. We bonded over the Jesuits.”
Conrad left the White House to work as the briefings director on the 2012 re-election campaign for President Obama, returned to D.C. to assist with the inauguration on the Vice President's team, and has now returned to the Puget Sound area.
Reflecting on her experience with the President and his team, Conrad stressed the importance of her experiences at Seattle University:
“I felt like my classes and the campus communities I was a part of always stressed the connection between the work we were doing and how we made a difference for the greater good. Beyond my own personal enrichment, those experiences gave me a strong sense of the importance of working with a purpose. When I joined the Obama campaign and later worked at the White House, I knew that I was in the right place because I felt the same way I had during the best moments I had at Seattle U. Being able to recognize and create meaningful community has been one of the most valuable lessons I ever learned at Seattle U. and something that I brought with me to the White House and take with me wherever I go.”
In September, Conrad begins the Master’s in Public Affairs program at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. She plans to focus on international development.
“I was a kid from Oregon walking the halls of the White House where the first black President of the United States lives,” she recalled. “People were engaged, interesting, and looked like me. The experience opened up doors for me that I would never have believed possible.”