SPOT LIGHT💡: Dr. Kathleen Grant

Dr. Kathleen Grant, PhD
One of the Department of Educational Counseling and Leadership Faculty Presenting at the Association of Counselor Education and Supervision National Conference⁣ in Seattle, Washington.


Abstract/Program Description: School Counselors can play critical roles in K-12 schools to bring about systems’ change. However, school counselors may experience a dissonance between the training they receive in graduate school and the complex real-world challenges of social justice advocacy work in practice. This presentation will provide a brief overview of the social justice challenges in schools, specifically focusing on how oppression, institutional racism, privilege, power, and implicit bias influence educational outcomes in schools. We will discuss concrete strategies for implementing the Multicultural and Social Justice Counseling Competencies into existing counselor-training programs to bolster and enhance students’ ability to engage in social justice advocacy in schools. Specific methods for increasing advocacy self-efficacy in students will be discussed.

Title of Presentation:⁣ Walking–the–Walk: Preparing Future School Counselors for Social Justice Advocacy In Schools

New Job Positions (Sep 19, 2019)

Congratulations to Carolyn Matassa, student affairs graduate of 2016, on her new position as an Academic Advisor in the Marketing & International Business Department at Monmouth and her continued position as an Advisor at Brookdale!


Congratulations to Ally Ongsuco, student affairs graduate of 2017, on her new position as a Career Coach at the Laboratory Institute of Merchandising (LIM) College in NYC!


Congratulations to Christine Scalera, school counseling graduate of 2009, on her new position as Lead Counselor and Transition Coordinator at the Gateway School in Orlando, Florida!


Congratulations to Kendall Walker, school counseling graduate of 2019, on her new position as a school counselor at Jonas Salk Middle School in Old Bridge!

Ecofeminist Therapy: From Theory to Practice

Dr. Pompeo-Fargnoli’s article revolves around the Ecofeminist Therapy, an approach which integrates the grounding theories of feminism and ecopsychology. Ecofeminist theory is based on the premise that women and the environment are both degraded by the toxic patriarchal dominant culture. This article helps to frame how professionals can utilize this theory with diverse client populations.


Individuals strive to identify themselves within their environmental context. A defining characteristic of ecopsychology is that our separation from nature/environment manifests in individuals as psychological disorders and human suffering (Pompeo, 2018). This ecopsychology component is the first pillar in the foundation of Ecofeminist Theory. The second pillar is feminism, which explores the internal work for social change, and the various types of oppression that clients face (Pompeo-Fargnoli, 2017). 


Dr. Pompeo-Fargnoli article examines a case study in which a young student was able to benefit immensely from an Ecofeminist approach to counseling. The client was able to connect the direct impact society had on her manifestation of invalid feelings surrounding being a women. The client was also able to utilize nature as a tool to create a “better awareness and understanding of her own emotional journey” (Pompeo, 2018). In conclusion, this article serves as a solid foundation of the emergence of Ecofeminist Theory, and provides a clear example of how the theory can be implemented into successful practice. 

Marina Melillo

Graduate Assistant

Masters of Education, School Counseling


Pompeo-Fargnoli, A. (2017). Women and relationships. In Schwarz, J. (Ed.), Counseling women across the lifespan: Empowerment, advocacy, and intervention. New York, NY: Springer Publishing


Pompeo-Fargnoli, Alyson (2018). Ecofeminist Therapy: From Theory to Practice. Journal of International Women’s Studies, 19(6), 1-16.

New Job Positions! (Sept 5, 2019)

Congratulations to Alexzandra Earley, student affairs graduate of 2019, on her new position as an Academic Advisor for the College of Arts and Sciences at Trinity Washington University in Washington, DC!

Congratulations to Kaitlyn Huizing, school counseling graduate of 2019, on her new position as a school counselor at Westfield High school in Chantilly, Virginia!

Congratulations to Kristi Miceli, school counseling graduate of 2019, on her new position as a school counselor at Mill Pond Elementary School in the Lacey Township School District!

Congratulations to Morgan Rhodes, student affairs graduate of 2017, on her new position as a Student Counselor for the Continuing Education Program for Rutgers University!  

Congratulations Alyson Pompeo-Fargnoli!

Please join us in congratulating Alyson Pompeo-Fargnoli for her recent publication in the Psychosomatics Journal.  For the full publication, see attached.  The citation is given below. 

Fargnoli, A& Pompeo-Fargnoli, A. (2019). The heart-brain connection from a mental health perspective: Interdisciplinary research & translational science developments. Psychosomatics Journal, 60 (1).

Congratulations, Alyson!

Dr. Greason Is Making A Difference!

Please take note that Dr. Walter Greason, will be presenting the keynote address to the New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists at their awards luncheon on June 22nd.

The address will focus on the legacy of T. Thomas Fortune, one of the most prominent African-American journalists of the late 19th and early 20thcenturies. Fortune was co-owner and editor of The New York Age, one of the leading black newspapers of his day, and was known for using his newspaper as a vehicle to speak out against lynching, black disenfranchisement and other injustices.

Dr. Greason has received considerable recognition for his work with the restoration of the T. Thomas Fortune House in Red Bank, among numerous other projects. Recently, Brookdale Community College had its annual Wilbur Ray Memorial Scholarship Dinner, and they honored six organizations that have a significant impact on the communities of central NJ. Three of them are connected to Dr. Greason: 

1. The T. Thomas Fortune House and Cultural Center in Red Bank

2. Freehold Bethel AME Church

3. Court Street School Community Center in Freehold, N.J.

Dr. Greason received three awards for his work on these projects. 

Well done, Dr.Greason!  This is a very fine body of work!  Thank you for distinguishing the School of Education!

Experiences of counselor students of color in the classroom: a qualitative study

Tina R. Paone , Krista M. Malott, Nicole Pulliam and Jordan Shannon

This study explored the experiences of counselor students of color in two multicultural courses in a master-level counseling program. Participants revealed their feelings surrounding a need to assume a ‘teaching role’ with their White counterparts, to challenge racist and stereotypical viewpoints. Positive and negative experiences associated with this role were expressed. Findings are drawn upon to suggest more inclusive counselor education tactics.

Black Women Doctors in the World of Comics

By Darnel Degand 

March 1, 2017

This guest post is part of our blog series on Comics, Race, and Society, edited by Julian Chambliss and Walter Greason.

(Source: Marvel Comics)

Black women’s progress often collides with media stereotypes about them.  However, media can also contradict these stereotypes. Crystal Emery’s 2016 documentary, Black Women in Medicine, highlights stories of successful black women doctors. Black actresses who portray doctors on fictional television shows, such as Grey’s Anatomy’s Chandra Wilson and How To Get Away With Murder’s Corbin Reid, also have the potential to inspire women to join the medical industry. If these manifestations did not exist in our media, young black women might not view medical careers as viable options. As Dr. Jocelyn Elders, the first black United States’ Surgeon General, said to filmmaker Crystal Emery, “You can’t be what you can’t see.”

Yet, even when a black woman earns the credentials required to become a physician, racial and gender biases still cause others to look at her with skepticism when she introduces herself as a doctor. Dr. Tamika Cross experienced this during a flight to Houston and she shared the details of that encounter on Facebook.  In response to her post, the hashtags #TamikaCross and #WhatADoctorLooksLikepropagated throughout social media as more doctors began sharing similar incidents.

The racism and sexism seen today are the latest chapter in more than 150 years of discrimination against black women pursuing medical careersRebecca Davis Lee Crumpler became the United States’ first black woman physician in 1864. Decades later, W.E.B. Du Bois penned the 1933 article, “Can a Colored Woman be a Physician?”,which responded to its title with a resounding “yes” by chronicling the career of Dr. Virginia Alexander. Yet, almost a century after its publication, many still question black women’s medical credentials.

The inability to see black women as doctors extends into the world of comic booksuperheroes. Doctor StrangeBeast, and Professor X are just a small sampling of the many white superheroes who are also doctors. However, it is difficult to find a similar list for black super heroines. Fortunately, Dr. Cecilia Reyes can be found in the pages of Marvel’s X-Men–introduced by writer, Scott Lobdell, and artist, Carlos Pacheco in 1997.

Reyes appeared briefly in issue 65. Her cameo occurred halfway into the book when the story transitioned to a hospital emergency room in the Bronx. This scene included a multi-ethnic group of doctors discussing a live television news report about a fight between Mutants and the military. The doctors were debating whether or not Mutants could be trusted. Reyes walked into the conversation and was asked for her opinion. In response, she made the following vague remark after loosening a surgical mask from her face: “I think a Mutie is a Mutie is a Mutie. It’s time someone stopped talking about the problem — and finally did something about it.” Afterwards, the story immediately transitioned away from the Bronx hospital and Reyes did not appear again until the next issue.

(Source: Marvel Comics)

Although brief, Reyes’ first appearance and first statement were significant. Her comment about Mutants was inspired by Gertrude Stein’s famous quote “A rose is a rose is a rose.” Stein’s readers assume “she was suggesting, perhaps, what a rose is not.” A rose is not the actions that you perform on it. A rose is not the emotions it evokes in you. A rose is simply a rose. Similarly, applying this same train of thought to Reyes’ comment would lead us to assume that she is also implying that a Mutant is simply a Mutant; they are not the fearful emotions that non-Mutants project onto them.

Yet, Reyes had an ambivalent stance on Mutants. Her suggestion that it was time someone “finally did something about it” was vague. On the surface, it may appear that she supported the belief that all Mutants were menaces. However, when interpreted with the Gertrude Stein quote as its inspiration, the reader can assume that Reyes wanted someone to prove that Mutants could, indeed, be trusted.

Nevertheless, much like an African American who might choose to pass for white, Reyes chose to keep her Mutant identity a secret from her co-workers. Similarly, readers were unaware that Reyes was a Mutant but it was clear that she was a physician–she wore medical scrubs, a surgical mask rested off of her face, and the staff addressed her as “Dr. Cecilia Reyes.” Her mere existence contradicted the stereotype that black women cannot be doctors. A black woman is a black woman is a black woman.

(Source: Marvel Comics)

In the next book, issue 66, Reyes was the main protagonist. While she was included in the cover illustration, the cover text did not mention her. Readers may have not realized it was her because she had long locs of hair instead of the curly bob hairstyle from the previous issue. I asked artist Carlos Pacheco about this change was made and he replied,“comic characters arr [sic] human beings … and this is one of the things humans do.” Although Pacheco views this as a simple cosmetic change for Reyes, it can be a complicated decision for many black women because it touches on professional expectations, personal expression, and cultural sensitivity.

Black women who choose to wear natural hairstyles often face workplace discrimination. A 2016 study confirmed the existence of explicit and implicit bias against black women with natural hair in professional environments. Multiple cases have been brought forth against a long list of institutions, corporations, and schools with rules against Black hair. Furthermore, a federal court ruled that companies can fire people for having dreadlocks.

In issue 66, however, Reyes did not experience racial discrimination. To the contrary, she was portrayed as a confident doctor who was in command of her operating room. This could be a positive glimpse at an ideal situation in which black women’s hairstyles are not an invitation to question their abilities. Conversely, it could be seen as a lost opportunity to examine their common struggles with racism and sexism in the workplace. Yet, Reyes did encounter discrimination because of her mutant abilities. A mutant-hunting robot, a Sentinel, appeared at the hospital and attacked her. At that moment, we learn that Reyes has the ability to create force fields and fire projectiles at her opponents.

(Source: Marvel Comics)

After Reyes was saved from the mutant-hunting Sentinel by fellow mutant, Ice-Man, she explained why she became a surgeon:

I was six years old, holding my father in my arms as he bled to death on the sidewalk. There was nothing I could do. Then. But I promised myself – and him – that the day would come that I could do something. That same night, I fell asleep reading my brother’s science text-book. Maybe it was just a devastated child’s way of dealing with a tragedy she couldn’t understand…but from that day on, I knew I wanted to be a doctor.

Illness or the death of a loved one is a motivation that Reyes shared with other aspiring doctors, including other black women. Additionally, she came from a poor neighborhood and become a doctor in spite of the false stereotypes that assume only students from high socioeconomic status families can become doctors. Like Dr. Sanneta Myrie, the 2016 Ms. Jamaica World, Reyes chose to return home to practice medicine. This is consistent with numerous other black doctors who return home to treat “populations that are traditionally underserved in medicine.”

Unfortunately, Dr. Cecilia Reyes is the only active black super heroine physician from a major comic book universe. In 1985, Dr. Midnight was introduced as DC Comics’ sole example but her character was killed in 1993. Independent comic publisher WildStorm Productions introduced us to Micro-Maid in 1999 but all of WildStorm’s titles were cancelled when the company closed in 2010. Dr. Cecilia Reyes, then, is the only lasting example of a black super heroine physician and she has appeared in approximately 500 issues.

While Scott Lobdell–the writer who introduced Dr. Cecilia Reyes in the world of comics–does not examine sociocultural topics relating to the lives of black women physicians, he does reveal Reyes’ Afro-Puerto Rican background in later issues. This provides an opening for exploring critical topics relating to hair textures, skin complexion, socioeconomic status, and heritage amongst Afro-Latinx groups. Although it can be refreshing to depict black women with locs in comic books practicing medicine without discrimination, it can also be empowering to see them model how to overcome the adversity black women still face even after earning their credentials.