Catherine Sullivan-Konyn is a community-committed Marquette University junior dedicated to social change and civic engagement. Since arriving at Marquette, Cate has deeply committed herself to university activities while furthering her involvement in Milwaukee-area initiatives in which she was part of prior to enrollment. At Marquette she is majoring in Sociology and Social Justice and Welfare with a minor in Peace Studies. Away from her classes, she is a staff manager with the Service Learning Program, responsible for leading 12 peers, establishing partnerships with community organizations, and planning and leading critical reflection sessions with other students participating in service learning. She also has helped plan and facilitate sessions at the Marquette Social Justice in Action Conference, a gathering for Marquette students interested in learning more about oppression and discrimination. To gain a global social justice perspective, Cate in 2017 studied at Marquette's International Service Learning Program in Cape Town, South Africa. Her time there included working with children in a township orphanage. Cate also works closely in a leadership role with the Marquette University Center for Peacemaking, teaching conflict resolution and violence prevention skills to middle-school students and helping teachers in the Milwaukee Public Schools learn these same skills.
For almost five summers prior to attending Marquette University, I volunteered at Project Ujima-a program through Children's Hospital of Wisconsin that works with youth ages 8-18 who are victims of violence. In a very real and personal way, I have been able to witness the damaging effects of violence and trauma on our youth.
I have carried my passion for responding to trauma in youth lives through my work in the Marquette University Center for Peacemaking Peace Works Program. Every week, along with a Peace Works trainer, I go to Milwaukee area schools and teach peace education lessons that aim to nurture skills of nonviolence, positive communication and positive social and emotional health.
Finally, through my work at the Marquette University Service Learning Program, I have been able to reach Marquette students who participate in service learning across our city. Through reflection with my peers, it has become clear that social issues, like violence, are a symptom of system injustices that are perpetuated through our actions or inactions. It is always my priority to plant seeds of peace, understanding and possibly motivation for my peers to use our privilege to address social conditions that cause violence.