Recognizing student mentors: College of Education and Human Sciences honors partners

| Juliana Poquette

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s College of Education and Human Sciences recently honored outstanding area educators and professionals who mentor education and human sciences students at the college’s annual awards reception April 18.

WACTE Awards

Two Eau Claire teachers received the college’s 2019 Wisconsin Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (WACTE) awards, which are presented annually by WACTE member institutions to a successful early-career teacher and an exemplary mentor teacher who works with student teachers. Each recipient is awarded $500 from the College of Education and Human Sciences.

Kathy Bareis, an art educator at DeLong Middle School and a longtime cooperating teacher for UW-Eau Claire students, received the WACTE Pre-Service Educator Mentor Award.

UW-Eau Claire art education students have been excited to work with Bareis because of her reputation as a leader in art education in Wisconsin, said her nominator, Dr. Jill Prushiek, associate dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences. Bareis has hosted more than 50 UW-Eau Claire student teachers, teacher assistants and observation students over the past 20 years.

Prushiek noted Bareis’s passion for and expertise in art education and adaptive art education, as well as her statewide and national recognition for her work. Bareis also has organized the first statewide conference for future art educators and has taught methods courses at UW-Eau Claire while continuing her full-time job at DeLong.

“I write this letter with great admiration for Kathy Bareis in all that she does for the teaching profession,” Prushiek wrote. “She is the definition of a teacher mentor, a teacher leader and a servant leader.”

Rachel Brettingen, a second-year earth science teacher at Memorial High School, received the WACTE Early Educator Award. The award recognizes the recipient’s positive impact on schools and communities, innovation in designing learning experiences, and advocacy for students.

“Rachel has become an integral part of Memorial’s earth science team,” wrote her nominator, Memorial Assistant Principal Laura Nicolet. “She jumped right in to contribute ideas and revise curriculum and assessments based on student data.”

Nicolet noted that Brettingen designs meaningful learning opportunities for her students. For example, unit assessments she created for students with learning disabilities and who are English-language learners included both accommodated versions and multiple modified versions based on students’ needs. Brettingen also serves as an assistant cross country coach, allowing her to get to know students outside of the classroom.

HOPE Awards

The following professionals who have demonstrated a sustained commitment to mentoring College of Education and Human Sciences students received the college’s Honoring Our Professionals of Excellence (HOPE) Awards. Each recipient received $500 from the College of Education and Human Sciences.

Erik Belgum, a speech-language pathologist at St. Croix Regional Medical Center in St. Croix Falls, has mentored graduate students in UW-Eau Claire’s communication sciences and disorders program for the past five years.

"Erik has generously accepted the challenge of working with our graduate students in pre-externship and full-time externship experiences," wrote Belgum's nominator, Rebecca Jarzynski, a clinical instructor in the communication sciences and disorders department. "He provides our students with a wonderful orientation to the healthcare setting.”

Jarzynski noted that Belgum consistently receives excellent ratings on the surveys students complete after returning from placements with him, and his effective mentorship happens in the midst of his own very demanding practice.

“Even with all of the demands of his position, he partners with us and our students to positively impact their clinical programs," Jarzinski wrote. "This is no small task, and he does this with such a positive and compassionate style."

Anne Doughty, a medical social worker at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital Eau Claire and a UW-Eau Claire social work alumna, has used her broad background in her field to guide and enhance the educational experiences of UW-Eau Claire social work interns over the past six years.

With Doughty, "students learn the importance of high standards, integrity, and setting firm limits with clients with compassion and empathy," wrote Doughty's nominator, Jamie Tester Morfoot, an assistant professor and the field director in UW-Eau Claire's social work department. "They learn to advocate on behalf of vulnerable populations and use their knowledge to improve the lives of others. Anne teaches our students how to think critically about the experiences they have and how to constructively question and challenge situations that appear inequitable."

Morfoot said that as a mentor, Doughty looks for opportunities that will expose students to as many experiences as possible and effectively supports them through challenging situations.

“Anne conducts herself professionally and models for our students what it means to be a professional social worker,” Morfoot wrote. “She is poised and we appreciate her dedication to our students and their education.”

Tami Viergutz, a speech-language pathologist and speech-language coordinator for the Eau Claire Area School District, has mentored practicum students in UW-Eau Claire’s communication sciences and disorders program for the past 18 years. In her role as ECASD speech-language coordinator, she also supports many additional practicum placements throughout the district.

“Tami has a polished clinical instruction style that balances delegation, teaching, coaching and supporting during the nine- and 12-week placements for our students,” wrote Viergutz’s nominator, Angie Sterling-Orth, clinical associate professor in the communication sciences and disorders department. “She has even stepped up and taken on placements for struggling graduate students, moving them towards greater levels of success and independence, all while balancing the demands of her full caseload and service responsibilities.”

Sterling-Orth noted that Viergutz understands and effectively models important skills for her practicum students while also encouraging their independence and building their confidence.

“Tami also has recently stepped up and taken on a new after-school role on campus in our clinic, working with our practicum students (undergrads and grads) and mentoring them to be clinicians,” Sterling-Orth wrote. “Through that role with UW-Eau Claire, she touches an even greater number of students.”

Top photo caption: Area professionals were honored April 18 by UW-Eau Claire's College of Education and Human Sciences for their mentorship of  students in the college. Award recipients were (from left to right) Anne Doughty, a medical social worker at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital Eau Claire; Kathy Bareis, an art educator at DeLong Middle School; Rachel Brettingen, a second-year earth science teacher at Memorial High School; Tami Viergutz, a speech-language pathologist and speech-language coordinator for the Eau Claire Area School District; and Erik Belgum, a speech-language pathologist at St. Croix Regional Medical Center in St. Croix Falls.