StritchNews


Student Spotlight: Sarah Wekyer

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 6:00:00 PM

by Brittany Hawley, '17

Sarah Wekyer, graduate student in clinical psychology, grew up in southeastern Wisconsin.

WekyerRaised 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 school.

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 training.

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 welcomed.”

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 pressure off.

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 fun?

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 would.

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.