Determined to Discover

This spring, the Alverno community transitioned to online learning. Thanks to the creativity and dedication of our faculty, and the determination and adaptability of our students, learning continued. Discoveries were made, inspiration struck, and knowledge was gained and shared. Just your typical, transformative Alverno education, delivered as life became anything but typical.

Helping us stay healthy

Health education and nursing students participated in a virtual health fair, conducting research on ways we can live healthier lives and sharing their knowledge with the Alverno community. Senior nursing major Holly DeVore focused on ways to manage test-taking anxiety.

“I chose my health fair topic based upon an issue that I feel a lot of students struggle with, but don’t talk about, as well as an issue that means a lot to me because I deal with it daily. I wanted to share how knowing effective ways to study can prevent procrastination and reduce stress related to academic work,” she says.

DeVore’s presentation included a video, infographic and list of resources for people to consult. Ultimately, she wants people to understand the difference between studying to memorize and studying to learn.

“It means a lot to me to know that maybe one person might find something useful in my resources,” she says. “Maybe a few people can realize that learning how to learn at the collegiate level is a struggle for some people, that it is completely normal, and that there are resources to help.”

DeVore, who expects to graduate in December, is thrilled to be able to continue moving closer toward achieving her dream of becoming a nurse.

“I want to become a nurse because it is what I am meant to do and the work that I am best suited for,” she says. “I am looking forward to finally reaching a goal that I have worked very hard toward, and getting to work with the population of patients I love.”

Creativity carries on

The camaraderie of instructors and classmates has helped Michelle Brunn, a studio art major and May 2020 graduate, transition to online learning.

“I was inspired by my fellow classmates who put together an online art group that met once a week. It was fun to hang out with my classmates and make art,” she says. “I was also inspired by the love and support shown to me by my instructors. They all checked in with me and made themselves available if I needed to talk. I am so thankful for all the support I received from them and my classmates.”

Brunn, with other art students and faculty, created an art experience packet for clients of Meta House, a Milwaukee nonprofit that break the cycle of addiction by healing women and strengthening families. The packet contains art projects for adults and children to not only entertain but to also offer opportunities to reflect and collaborate.

Brunn contributed a project called “Butterfly a Day,” which invites people to use any materials to create a butterfly daily and to use their creations to make a mural.

“I think this project will bolster self-esteem,” Brunn says. “I feel honored to be a part of this project. It makes me smile that an art project I designed is gifting someone who is in a difficult situation with hope. That makes my heart happy!”

The project was well-received at Meta House, and the organization is hoping to continue partnering with Alverno in this way.

“The clients really appreciated the care and thought that were put into the art packets,” says Oli Smith, program and development coordinator at Meta House. “It cannot be overestimated how important it is for everyone (and especially clients like ours in early stages of recovery) to have healthy and productive outlets right now.”

Real-world applications

The technology we relied upon to work from home was also put to use by Alverno students, providing a valuable introduction to what will be waiting for them in the workforce, not to mention the life skills that get them ready for success no matter their careers.

“During this online learning experience, I have been able to gain a better understanding of other forms of online communication that could be used in any workplace, like Zoom,” says Naomi Saldana, media design major. “I have also gained a lot of practice with becoming self-sufficient, and I have become better at prioritizing.”

Saldana has enjoyed getting to create more art in her digital art course, as well as practicing her skills in industry-standard programs like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign.

“Also, my women and leadership course has engaged us by allowing us to discuss book chapters using Flipgrid, an app in which you can create short videos using graphics, illustrations and voice,” she says.

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