by Brittany Hawley, '17
Sarah Wekyer, graduate student in clinical psychology, grew
up in southeastern Wisconsin.
Raised in the Catholic faith tradition, Wekyer became
involved with the Newman Center during her undergraduate studies in music
education at the University of Wisconsin – Steven’s Point. While there, she explored
her faith and found answers to many of her questions. After graduating with her
bachelor’s degree, Wekyer accepted her first job, teaching band at a Catholic
Still interested in examining her faith, Wekyer decided to
enroll in a graduate theology program. Through her studies, she learned about
religious life. After much discernment, Wekyer decided to join an order of Sisters
in Nashville, Tennessee. While grateful for the experience and fellowship of
religious life, Wekyer eventually felt called to return to Wisconsin and
decided not to profess her final vows.
Back in Wisconsin, Wekyer continued teaching and found purpose
in parish work, where she saw the importance of mental health and how many of
her students and families needed mental health care. Many of the families
approached Wekyer for assistance, but she didn’t feel entirely qualified to
offer advice. With the desire to pursue this new path, she began looking for a
clinical psychology program where she could get the scientific basis and
Wekyer chose Cardinal Stritch University and was grateful to
know she could express her faith here.
“It’s unique to be able to offer a theological, faith-based
perspective, if a client wants that, and also have a solid, scientific
foundation,” said Wekyer. “Stritch was a place where I felt like that would be
When Wekyer isn’t studying for exams or writing papers, she
is at her clinical internship at Christian Family Solutions. In order to become
a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), she needs 700 hours of unpaid, clinical
internship. She works in day treatment called Strong Program at a parochial
school in Milwaukee. The outreach program is designed for a population that may
not seek mental health care, but would benefit from the services. Wekyer will
continue working there after graduation.
Initially, Wekyer wanted to focus on adults with addiction
recovery, but now she can see herself working with the at risk youth population.
She is interested in assessment or taking on private clients after she
completes her master’s degree. At Christian Family Solutions, Wekyer has the
opportunity to work with group therapy
and individual therapy.
In addition to sharing her story, Wekyer was gracious enough
to offer some additional thoughts on her Stritch experience:
What are you
passionate about? What’s your Stritch mission?
What led me here was the passion for helping people achieve
their calling. And through my journey, I’ve learned a lot about myself. We just
did the Myer’s Brigg test through Tom Kipp in Career Services (I am an INFJ).
In my undergraduate studies, my results indicated that I was a clear ENFJ. I’ve
thought a lot about how our culture really kind of pushes extroversion, and so
it was life changing for me to just embrace who I am.
How do you balance
work, internship, and the graduate program?
This year is really full. Balancing all of that makes for
some really long days, but it’s just for this year and graduation is in sight.
It is a tough schedule, and I’m really blessed that I am able to live with
family right now. So, I have supportive family to help take some of that
I also just got a lot more focused on exercising and healthy
diet; I think that makes a big difference. We had a seminar with Mary Beth
[Wisniewski] on mindfulness, and I think a lot of those principles are
important, too. A lot of my classmates and I want to keep going with mindfulness
practice each day. It’s just really important to make time for that. To just be
quiet and be in the moment. That has helped, too, with the balance.
Last year was my first year back in school, and I probably
felt really self-conscious or wondering if I could get it all done. This year,
starting with Franciscan Servant Scholars and my internship, working with the
students changed my mindset to be in the moment and be present with who I’m
with. So, if I have a big assignment, I set it aside and be with Brittany or be
with the client that I’m with. And that has really helped, too, to just be in
the moment and be present fully with what is happening right now, and just know
that everything is going to fall into place.
What do you do for
Well, I mentioned I’m into exercising, so last spring I
started the couch to 5K program, which is taking someone who is basically a
couch potato, and at it gets you to run a 5K. That has been really great! I ran
my first 5K in November, and now I’m in a running group. I just signed up to do
a relay with a team - from Madison to Chicago in June. We will run all the way
through the night. It’s pretty fun to be able to run when I never thought I
Also, I live on a farm, and we have animals. I have a Norwegian
Fjord horse (the kind of horses featured in Frozen). She is actually pregnant
and expecting a foal in May! I’ve felt the foal kicking when I touched her
belly. My parents used to raise Norwegian Fjord horses when I lived in
Tennessee, but I’ve never been there for a birth or to see a newborn. I also have
a dog, and chickens. I enjoy the outdoors. I do crafty things, like make signs.
I would like to do craft fairs or start a business someday. I enjoy photography
and would love to find more time to practice it.